The gender pay gap hit the headlines again this week, amidst news that the Government plans to force large firms to disclose their average pay rates. The move comes as a result of a coalition decision which aims to eliminate discriminatory pay discrepancies and drive up women’s wages.
Whilst Office for National Statistics figures* suggest the pay gap is at its narrowest since relevant records began in 1997, and the government has met its target to get women into at least 25% of boardroom seats in FTSE 100 companies, it seems more needs to be done.
That’s why a consultation is now underway to decide exactly how the gender pay gap regulations will take shape, and what, where and when information will be published by businesses with 250 staff or more.
The time is therefore ripe, if you’re an organisation of this size, to work out how you will extract and report upon the data the government will be looking for. It is important to consider how you will truthfully and respectfully obtain the information required, without disclosing the often confidential salaries of individuals, and, whether it is possible to do this without creating an additional administrative burden on already-stretched HR and payroll teams.
If you are a current or prospective Cascade customer, there are a number of things we can do to make the process as hassle-free and worthwhile as possible. It could even shed some value-adding insight on your pay landscape, which you were previously unaware of.
Utilising the salary modelling functionality within our fully-integrated HR and payroll software for instance, it is possible to analyse what people across the business are paid, and what this really ‘costs’ the organisation on a monthly or annual basis. The reporting functionality can then do some more investigative sums on your behalf, to calculate if a male and female average pay gap is indeed apparent.
It is also possible to assess the business impact of either a ‘global’ pay rise or individual pay adjustments. Where realignment is required, line managers could then be given new salary budgets, with pay rises subject to HR authorisation of course. This process, in itself, can be driven by a best-practice workflow within the system.
It is important to consider skills and competencies of course – another value-adding element of our core HR software. There may be a justifiable reason why someone, male or female, is paid more than a colleague, therefore analysed skill-sets help evidence why a particular individual is on the salary that they are. Challenges may arise if an employee has been paid a premium to attract them to the company, and away from a competitor, so it is a case of proving you focused purely on selecting the best possible person for the job.
Speaking about the government’s announcement, Cascade’s Client Services Director Heather Vitty – a founding member of the company with a therefore long-serving seat on the board – said:
[blockquote]What this legislation highlights is the need to create a level playing field when it comes to the remuneration of staff. This applies not only to employees’ gender but also other unfair and unlawful discriminatory factors such as age, ethnicity and disability. In some instances, especially in businesses without clearly defined or graded pay scales, a gap may not be intentional. But let’s hope the shake up inspires businesses of all shapes and sizes – not just those with over 250 staff – to rectify any discrepancies.[/blockquote]
*from November 2014