The government has announced plans to force larger employers to publish information about bonuses awarded to men and women as part of their gender pay gap reporting.
Earlier this year it was announced that companies with more than 250 employees will be required to publish figures on the average pay gap between men and women, but at the time this did not include bonus payments.
The announcement forms part of the government’s wider plan to help close the gender pay gap. Women are paid on average 19% less than men, although the gap has been almost closed for full-time workers under the age of 40.
Minister for women and equalities Nicky Morgan said that everyone should be given a “fair shot” regardless of their gender. “That’s why, from the opportunities women are given in school to the ability to move up the executive pipeline, we are determined to tackle the barriers to women achieving their all,” she said.
“Business has made huge amounts of progress already in recent years – the gender pay gap is the lowest since records began, but it should appal us all that 100 years on from the Suffragette movement we still don’t have gender equality in every aspect of our society.”
Kathryn Nawrockyi, gender equality director at Business in the Community, said she welcomed this level of rigour. “A government requirement to include bonuses in gender pay gap reporting is something to be welcomed for the advancement of women’s equality in the UK,” she said.
“The gender pay gap and the causes behind it continue to be one of the largest contributing factors to women’s under-representation and inequality in the UK's workplaces today. Only by understanding where and why gender pay gaps exist can an employer take action to ensure parity in pay. If this does not apply to bonus payments then many employees may continue to be paid less than their colleagues for equal work and performance.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady described the announcement as “a start. But it is just that – a start”.
“Employers need to look at why women are still being paid less than men and do something meaningful about it,” she added. “If the prime minister is serious about ending the gender pay gap within a generation he must not delay mandatory pay gap reporting and he should extend the law to medium-size companies as well as large employers. And businesses that don’t comply with the law should be fined.”