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Gender Pay Gap: Reporting Process

Volume 646: debated on Thursday 13 September 2018

May I first thank the hon. Lady for her role in introducing gender pay gap reporting? I have good news because it has emerged that 100% of employers identified as in scope have reported in the first year. I think that may be unprecedented in Government schemes. My thanks, as I say, to the hon. Lady, to everyone in the Government Equalities Office involved in making that happen and of course to the employers. That represents more than 10,000 boards across the country having board-level conversations about closing the gender pay gap, but reporting is just the first step. Employers must also take action to close the gap and we are supporting them in doing that.

I thank the Minister for that response. I congratulate her on the—almost suspicious—100% compliance, but I am sure the House will agree that that is good news. It is simply unfair that people earn less because they happen to be women, have brown skin, have a disability or come from a working-class background, yet there is clear evidence of pay gaps for all those characteristics. The gender pay gap reporting has clearly made employers pay attention to inadvertent and structural biases in their pay arrangements, so will the Government consult on extending pay transparency and reporting to tackle those wider injustices?

That is a very good point. We are committed to looking not just at gender, but BAME and issues such as mental health. This reporting is opening up conversations about gender, as I say, but we hope that, as part of that, it will open up conversations about how employers treat their workforce generally and ensure that fairness is extended to everyone regardless, as the hon. Lady says, of gender, how they look and so on. One thing we are keen to do is to ensure that, as part of the reporting, employers put their action plans out there. About 48% of companies are already doing that. We would like them to do more.

It is good news and should be celebrated that 100% of eligible businesses have reported on the gender pay gap, but may I press the Minister further? What further steps will she take to see that action flows from the reporting of this gender pay gap?

Very much so. We have a packed agenda of meetings with business leaders but also with industry leaders, so that we can trickle down good practice from the largest employers, who obviously have the most resources in terms of HR departments and so on. We want to get the best practice from them and trickle it down so that we help those employers who under the legislation are required to report. My aspiration is also for employers who fall under that threshold to start adopting the same good practice as well.