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Equality and Human Rights Commission to consult employers on best way of measuring and reporting pay inequalities

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a consultation on how employers in the private or voluntary sectors can measure and report their gender pay gaps.

On average women earn 17.1% less than men rising in some sectors including finance. So the commission has developed ways for employers with more than 250 staff to reduce pay inequality and increase transparency.

The commission is working closely with the business sector including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and TUC to develop consistent ways of measurement.

The aim is to allow eligible employers to voluntarily report on gender pay gaps, which may lead to mandatory reporting by 2013.

Andrea Murray, acting group director of strategy at the EHRC, said: "There is a demand from the public for organisations to build their reputation on transparency and sharing information. The way they reward staff should be fair and seen to be fair.

"The reasons for the pay gap are complex so the commission will be gathering views from employers on what could work best for their organisations in terms of measuring and reporting information. In particular we want to hear from employers that have been monitoring their gender pay gap and have made moves to address it."

The announcement comes following a report from the Liberal Democrats, showing women in some civil service offices earn, on average, 30% less than male colleagues.