With one week to go until the deadline for employers of 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gap information, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has confirmed that it will take enforcement action against any employers who fail to report on time.
In a statement on 26 March 2018, the EHRC has said it will implement the first stage of its enforcement processes by sending a letter on 9 April 2018 to employers who have failed to report their gender pay gap information. These employers will have 28 days to comply, or else face the next stages of enforcement action set out in EHRC’s strategy document.
As a further cautionary note to employers, it is clear that EHRC has firm intentions to make details of non-compliant businesses publically available. The EHRC indicates that, in certain circumstances, it will publish details of enforcement action taken and will promote the results of its enforcement work in order to encourage compliance. It says that ensuring employers who breach the regulations are held to account will deter non-compliance by other employers.
Whilst there is a legal question mark over the extent of the EHRC’s powers in practice, most employers will not want to risk any negative consequences arising from a failure to report, and in particular, any damage to reputation. However, information available on 27 March 2018 indicates that less than 4,500 employers have reported so far. On Government estimates this means that half of affected employers are still to report. Pressing the button now, and avoiding any potential last minute pressures on the Government’s website, would therefore seem to be a sensible approach.