Issue date
31 Mar 2017

Commenting on legislation introduced today (Friday) that means organisations with 250 or more employees will have to publish information about the difference between average male and female earnings, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Publishing information on gender pay gaps in salaries and bonuses is a start. But it is just that – a start. To genuinely tackle the root causes of the gender pay gap, we need to understand why women are still being paid less than men and do something meaningful about it.

“We need to remove the barriers that stop women going into better paid, male-dominated professions and create more better-paid part-time and flexible jobs. And we must improve pay for undervalued – but vital – jobs that are predominantly done by women, like social care.

“But this won’t happen just with light-touch regulation. Government should extend the law to medium-size organisations as well as large employers. And bosses that don’t comply with the law should be fined.”

Analysis by the TUC published last month revealed that the average woman has to wait nearly a fifth of a year (66 days) before she starts to get paid, compared to the average man.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Gender pay reporting:

New gender pay reporting legislation requires employers with 250 or more employees to reveal the pay gap between their male and female employees annually. Employers will have up to 12 months to publish this information on their website and a government site. This starts in the public sector today (Friday 31 March), and in the private sector next Friday (6 April).
 

The TUC thinks the law should go much further and is calling on the government to:

  1. Decrease the threshold for reporting to organisations with 150 rather than 250 employees.
  2. Introduce sanctions – including fines – for employers that fail to comply with the law.
  3. Make employers publish a narrative and action plan alongside gender pay information.
  4. Make companies also publish the gender breakdown of the part-time workforce; the gap in hourly pay between part-time and full-time employees (using both the mean and median); and the distribution of part-time employees. A substantial number of women work part-time and research shows that part-time work is strongly associated with low pay and poor progression.
  5. Agency workers should also be covered by the regulations. Women are more likely than men to be on these type of work contracts and, those who are, tend to be paid less than employees.
  6. Conduct a full review of the success of the legislation, shortly after the first reporting cycle. Annual reports could identify what proportion of companies have complied, naming those that have failed to publish information and assessing the quality of information that is being produced.  

- The pay gap between men and women is currently 18.1%. The gender pay gap is calculated using all median hourly pay, excluding overtime, for male and female employees from the ONS ASHE data: www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/annualsurveyofhoursandearnings/2016provisionalresults
- The TUC analysis that the average woman has to wait nearly a fifth of a year (66 days) before she starts to get paid, compared to the average man, is available at: www.tuc.org.uk/equality-issues/gender-equality/equal-pay/women-work-free-fifth-year-says-tuc
- Since 2011 the full-time pay gap has fallen by just 0.2 percentage points a year. The TUC has calculated that at this rate it will take over 40 years to achieve pay parity between men and women.
- All TUC press releases can be found at tuc.org.uk/media
- TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews