19 April 2018
MPs have urged the government to take action on the gender pay gap after one in ten employers failed to comply with reporting rules.
The deadline for businesses over 250 or more employees to publish their data on pay according to gender elapsed a fortnight ago, but 1,500 companies have as yet failed to report.
Among those who did report, a significant gender pay gap was revealed, with an average disparity of 9.7%.
In Parliament yesterday (18 April 2018), Harriet Harman pressed Women’s Minister Victoria Atkins on how she would act to close the pay gap, while Shadow Equalities Minister Dawn Butler urged for sanctions against businesses that did not comply to the law.
“We need actions, not audits,” Butler said. “The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) … needs more resources. Seventy per cent cuts to its resources will jeopardise its ability to enforce sanctions, so the Government will need to review the cuts that they have levied on the organisation.”
SNP MP Alison Thewliss added: “It is very concerning that there are still some 1,500 companies that have failed to report. Perhaps the Minister could tell us a little more about what she intends to do to ensure that they report those figures, because there could be a lot more hiding within them if they have not reported them in time. Will she give more resources to the EHRC to ensure that it can do its enforcement work and follow up on all these cases so that none of that is missed?”
Atkins responded that she had spoken to the Chief Executive of the EHRC and was “not aware that resources are an issue”.
Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson later told the Guardian: “The government’s lack of appetite for concrete action is palpable … They drafted the regulations to exclude the sanction of fines for non-compliance and no action plans were required from employers.”