Pay gap reporting will take place in 2021 – though companies will be given an extra six months to file their information.
Grazia, in conjunction with the TUC, Mother Pukka, aka Anna Whitehouse, last week called on readers to sign a petition asking the government to ensure pay gap reporting would take place in 2021. There were rumours that the government had planned to allow companies not to report for the second year in a row.
Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) scrapped gender pay gap reporting for 2020, because businesses faced ‘unprecedented uncertainty and pressure’. The government had said that whether or not to suspend it for 2021 was ‘under review’.
The announcement is a victory for our campaign, though there is still some concern about companies being allowed to delay. Instead of this spring, companies will only be fined if they don’t send their report by October 5, giving information on the year 2020/21.
Grazia’s Mind The Pay Gap campaign in 2015 helped change the law around reporting. We called for companies that employ more than 250 people to publish anonymised details of their male and female staff’s pay. Finally, we could see what our male colleagues were earning, encouraging employers to address the pay gaps within their businesses.
Grazia and campaigners were clear that more than ever, we needed to see those details this year, as the pandemic clearly affects women and their employment prospects more than men. A worrying 80% of managers didn’t take steps in 2020 to ensure redundancies did not fall disproportionately on women, the Chartered Management Institute found. Mothers were 47% more likely to have lost their jobs or quit in lockdown compared to fathers, according to The Institute for Fiscal Studies; women’s job losses due to Covid-19 are 1.8 times greater than men’s, according to a recent McKinsey report.
It’s vital that employers analyse their pay gaps and take immediate action to close them. Unnecessary delay risks turning the clock back.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: 'Delaying gender pay gap reporting for six months isn’t necessary. There is nothing to stop bosses reporting in March as usual – and hopefully good employers will still do this.
'Now is not the time to turn our backs on equality. Women have lost out on pay and had to cut their hours in the pandemic. It’s vital that employers analyse their pay gaps and take immediate action to close them. Unnecessary delay risks turning the clock back.
'This decision sends a worrying message about the importance given to gender equality. It’s not just a nice addition in good times that can be shelved when the going gets tough.'
Anna Whitehouse said: 'How transparency is meant to feel like a step forward gives some idea of where equality sits right now. With a further six month delay on top on suspension of reporting in 2020, it feels like the government absolutely has something to fear. The impact this pandemic has had on women is debilitating and that we're having to beg for something that should never have been taken off the table is nothing short of depressing.'
Grazia’s editor, Hattie Brett said: ‘We know Grazia readers galvanise around causes that matter to them. But the fact that so many signed this petition calling on the government to reinstate gender pay gap reporting so quickly, shows how important this issue is to them. Statistics show that women have been hit hardest economically by the impact of the pandemic, but without gender pay gap reporting we can’t see the full picture.’