A new legal requirement in the U.K. means that companies with 250 or more employees will have to publish their gender pay gaps within the next year. The law came into action today, April 6, and requires public, private and voluntary sector firms to disclose average pay for men and women, including any bonuses.
As BBC News reports, half of the U.K. workforce will be affected by the new rules, this amounts to 9,000 employers and more than 15 million employees.
Firms have until April 2018 to disclose their employee pay as of April 5 2017. All the data will eventually be available on a central government database. Firms that miss the deadline will be contacted by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
The U.K. gender pay gap is 18.1 percent for all workers and 9.4 percent for full-time staff. Some employment law experts have doubted the potential impact of these new rules, with the lack of women at senior levels seen as a major factor.
“The reporting will tell us what we already know, whilst neglecting to consider the myriad of factors that legitimately differentiate pay such as levels of responsibility, nature of work, experience and geographical location to name but a few,” employment law partner Suzanne Horne recently told The Independent.
A report from January 2017 confirmed that women in their 20s in the U.K. have seen the pay gap halve to 5 percent, though this discrepancy with men’s earnings widens in their 30s.