Editor's message: Equal pay legislation has been around since the 1970s, giving men and women the right to claim equal pay where they perform "equal work". The gender pay gap, however, covers the difference in the average earnings of men and women, regardless of their role or seniority. There are a variety of factors behind it, including the impact on women's career progression of taking time out of the labour market to have children, and career choices, with typical “male” subjects such as IT and science often leading to higher-paid roles.
To address the issue, the Government introduced a requirement for all large organisations to publish their gender pay gap information annually. This involves producing six key metrics, including the difference in the mean and median pay and bonus pay of men and women, along with the proportion of men and women in each of four quartile pay bands.
However, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Government suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for 2020 and, because of the continuing impact of the pandemic, delayed enforcement action for the 2020/21 reporting year until 5 October 2021.
Fiona Cuming, employment law editor