Companies will have to resume reporting their gender pay gap reporting from October 2021, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said.
“We know businesses are still facing challenging times,” Baroness Kishwer Falkner, chair of the EHRC, said in a 23 February statement. “Starting our legal process in October strikes the right balance between supporting businesses and enforcing these important regulations.”
Companies can face legal action if they don’t report the gender pay data. The commission warned that after the six-month grace period has passed, it would contact employers that haven’t submitted their data.
The requirement to submit the reports was suspended at the beginning of the pandemic. Gender pay gap reporting, which has been mandatory for companies in the UK with 250 or more employees since 2017, means firms must report the salary difference between male and female workers.
Falkner added, however, that employers should still report their pay gap for 2020 and 2021 “if they can”. Reporting will restart on 5 October 2021.
“Reinstating enforcement from October 2021 will ensure that all firms within scope publish their data, while giving those who have been closed for most of the last year more time to do so,” said Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the CBI, in a statement.
Separately, the Hampton-Alexander Review, an independent government-supported initiative to increase the representation of women in senior leadership position and on boards of FTSE350 companies, released its final report.
Since 2016, it found that the number of women on the boards of the UK’s biggest companies had increased by 50%. In its 24 February press release, it said that 34.3% of FTSE 350 board position are now held by women, compared to 21.9% in October 2015.
“The lack of women in the boardroom is where it all started a decade ago, and it’s the area where we have seen the greatest progress,” said Denise Wilson, the chief executive of the Review, in a statement. “But now, we need to achieve the same – if not more – gains for women in leadership.”
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