Gender pay gap reporting

Gender pay reporting legislation requires employers with 250 or more employees to publish statutory calculations every year showing how large the pay gap is between their male and female employees. 

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Reporting may show, for example, that on average men earn 10% more pay per hour than women, that men earn 5% more in bonuses per year than women, or that the lowest paid quarter of the workforce is mostly female. These results must be published on the employers own website and a government site. This means that the gender pay gap will be publicly available, including to customers, employees and potential future recruits. 

As a result, employers should consider taking new or faster actions to reduce or eliminate their gender pay gaps.

If you are an employer with 250 employees or more, new legislation introduced this year means you will need to publish your gender pay gap data annually. From April 2017 employers have up to 12 months to publish this information. There are two sets of regulations.

  • The first is mainly for the private and voluntary sectors (which took effect from 5 April 2017).
  • The second is mainly for the public sector (which took effect from 31 March 2017).

The deadline to report is 4 April 2018 (or 30 March 2018 for public sector employers). Employers can register their organisation on the government's online reporting service www.gov.uk/report-gender-pay-gap-data.

Key points

  • An employer must comply with the regulations for any year where they have a 'headcount' of 250 or more employees on 5 April (where the private and voluntary sector regulations apply) and 31 March (where the public sector regulations apply), but employers of all sizes should consider the advantages. 
  • A wider definition of who counts as an employee is used here (from the Equality Act 2010). This means that workers are included, as well as some self-employed people. Agency workers are included, but counted by the agency providing them.
  • There are six calculations to carry out, and the results must be published on the employer's website and a government website within 12 months. Where applicable, they must be confirmed by an appropriate person, such as a chief executive.
  • Gender pay reporting is a different requirement to carrying out an equal pay audit.
  • Employers have the option to provide a narrative with their calculations. This should generally explain the reasons for the results and give details about actions that are being taken to reduce or eliminate the gender pay gap.
  • While the regulations for the public, private and voluntary sectors are near identical, and the calculations are directly comparable, the public sector regulations also take into account the public sector equality duty.

Download the joint Acas & GEO guide on pdf icon Managing gender pay reporting [652kb] for more detail.

What are the calculations?

An employer must publish six calculations showing their:

  1. average gender pay gap as a mean average
  2. average gender pay gap as a median average
  3. average bonus gender pay gap as a mean average
  4. average bonus gender pay gap as a median average
  5. proportion of males receiving a bonus payment and proportion of females receiving a bonus payment
  6. proportion of males and females when divided into four groups ordered from lowest to highest pay.

What should be done with the calculations?

The results must be published on the employer's website and a government website. They must, where applicable, be confirmed in a written statement by an appropriate person, such as a chief executive.

Employers have the option to provide a narrative with their calculations. This should generally explain the reasons for the results and give details about actions that are being taken to reduce or eliminate the gender pay gap.

  • The narrative can say why the results show challenges. For example, an employer might explain that their executives get the highest bonuses and most of them are men. Where there is a challenge, employers should consider taking new or faster actions to reduce or eliminate their gender pay gaps.
  • The narrative can say why the results show successes. For example, an employer might explain that a recent change to their bonus policy has helped provide a much lower bonus gender pay gap.
  • The narrative can also be used to show plans for long-term results. For example, an employer might want to tackle the underrepresentation of women in their science and engineering roles by running a recruitment campaign for junior roles that particularly encourages women to apply. In the short-term this means more women will be at the starting salaries, which could make the gender pay gap look higher. However, in the longer-term this will balance out and the underrepresentation should be reduced.

While employers may already be taking steps to improve gender equality and reduce or eliminate their gender pay gap, this process will support and encourage action.

Gender pay reporting is different to equal pay

Equal pay deals with the pay differences between men and women who carry out the same jobs, similar jobs or work of equal value. It is unlawful to pay people unequally because they are a man or a woman.

The gender pay gap shows the difference in the average pay between all men and women in a workforce. If a workforce has a particularly high gender pay gap, this can indicate there may a number of issues to deal with, and the individual calculations may help to identify what those issues are.

For more information see our Equal pay page.

How can Acas help?

Acas gender pay training

Our training courses on gender pay gap reporting are running across the country and have been designed to help employers understand what gender pay gap reporting is, what needs to be reported, how to do it and what to do next, with the opportunity to ask an Acas expert your questions. They will be of great value to anyone in an HR, Operations, Finance or Policy role.

Find an event near you

This topic is addressed in Acas Employment Law Update training. View course listings. You may also benefit from viewing our Employment Law Update timetable.

Gender pay at Acas

For information on Acas' gender pay gap and work towards tackling it, see our Diversity at Acas page.