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Organisations face public reveal as part of enforcement action

When the Government announced the introduction of the gender pay gap reporting regulations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) took on enforcement action for this issue. As part of their strategy, the EHRC announced they would use public ‘naming and shaming’ to identify those who failed to meet their reporting obligations.

As the second reporting deadline passed on 30 March 2019 for public sector organisations and 4 April 2019 for those in the private sector, repeat offenders have now been identified. These are organisations who failed to report their 2017 data on time by the 2018 deadline, and have since failed to publish their 2018 data by the deadlines set out above. Typhoo Tea, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty and Northern Automotive Systems will now be subject to a statutory investigation by the EHRC to ascertain whether they have broken the law. If so, they will be required to publish their gender pay gap figures or be subject to further enforcement action, including a legally enforceable notice which may lead to an unlimited fine.

Although the EHRC revealed that 10,738 organisations reported their gender pay gap figures in line with the law, the impact of not doing so is highlighted by the ‘naming and shaming’ action.  With significant media attention on this issue, it is unlikely that those who are named for failing to meet deadlines will escape scrutiny. The naming will also be easily accessible to current or prospective employees who may believe that this is an indication that the organisation does not take its equality and diversity commitments seriously.

Alongside these three repeat offenders, the EHRC plans on ‘naming and shaming’ all organisations who have not met the reporting deadline this year. This reveal will take place on 20 May 2019, with all named organisations being subject to a statutory investigation from this date.

It is clear that the EHRC are taking enforcement action seriously, therefore, organisations who are caught by the reporting obligations need to stay aware of specific dates and reporting deadlines With the obligation applying to any organisation who has 250 or more employees on the ‘snapshot date’ of 5 April (private sector) or 31 March (public sector) in each year, all organisations need to check their staffing numbers as they may meet the reporting threshold, even if they have not done so in previous years. Leaving the uploading of information to the last minute may also have a negative impact, as any failure to meet the reporting deadline is actionable.

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