The government has today published its proposals for larger employers (employing 250+ staff) to publish data about the gender pay gap in their organisations. 

Employers will need to publish mean and median figures for the gender pay gap among their staff, although they will not be obliged to break this down by role, distinguish between part-time and full-time workers or provide a narrative about steps being taken to close any gap.  They will need to provide details of the percentage of men and women who feature in each salary quartile. 

Importantly for financial services and other sectors where bonuses play a large role, these figures will need to include bonuses as well as salary, but overtime payments will be excluded. 

The government's consultation response indicates that providing additional narrative will be strongly encouraged despite not being mandatory. In fact, we anticipate that some organisations will want to do this to place the data in context, as the government intends to publish "league tables" showing the pay gaps for employers by sector. 

The reports will need to be published on a searchable website accessible to both employees and the public.  There will not be civil penalties for non-compliance, but the government will keep this under review. 

The timing of the reporting has frustrated many campaign groups.  The regulations were originally intended to come into force this March, but will not come into force until this October, with an initial data "snapshot" to be published in April 2017 and full reporting from April 2018. 

Organisations who will be caught by the regulations should start planning now (if they haven't already) so that they are ready to comply.