Acas and the Government Equalities Office have published guidance on how businesses can calculate and report their gender pay gap.
The guide has been launched in the run-up to new gender pay gap reporting Regulations, which come into force for private-sector companies employing 250 or more people from 5 April.
A revised version of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 was published on 6 December last year, after the initial version of the Regulations had been put to consultation.
Under the new rules, companies must publish a snapshot of salaries and bonuses across six key metrics and publish information about their gender pay gap within 12 months of the Regulations coming into force.
The guide includes practical information on how to make the required calculations and also a template for communicating the figures and their context to employees.
Acas chief executive Anne Sharp said: “The new requirement provides a great opportunity for organisations to look at the issue in depth and to consider whether they can do more to develop their talented women and secure the benefits of greater gender diversity at all levels.
“The UK has made progress in reducing the gender pay gap but we still have lots to do – tackling the issue is in the interests of individuals, organisations and the economy as a whole.”
Acas and the GEO remind employers that they have the option to provide a narrative around the figures they are required to publish.
It suggests ways employers can explain why the figure seems high and any challenges they have experienced in reducing the gap, such as greater numbers of men receiving higher bonuses due to there being more of them at senior level.
It also recommends employers use the narrative to show how they intend to address the pay gap in the long term.
It says: “For example, an employer might want to tackle the under-representation of women in their science and engineering roles by running a recruitment campaign for junior roles that particularly encourages women to apply.
“In the short term, this means more women will be at the starting salaries, which could make the gender pay gap look higher. However, in the longer term this will balance out and the under-representation should be reduced.”
Caroline Dinenage, minister for women, equalities and early years, said: “No one should ever be held back just because of their gender. We now have the lowest gender pay gap on record, but we still have to push further.
“Shining a light on the gaps is absolutely key to achieving equality in the workplace, which is why we are introducing requirements on all large employers to publish their gender pay and bonus data from April.”
Verity O’Keefe, senior employment and skills policy adviser at manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said it would be difficult for many employers to demonstrate the complexity of their pay structures in just a snapshot of their figures.
She added: “Manufacturers are likely to unearth some higher than average figures. However, this is not due to a lack of support for women in our sector, far from it. Manufacturers offer enhanced and competitive maternity pay and schemes, flexible working and structured career and training plans.
“Instead, the problem is at the grassroots. Just a handful of engineering apprentices and graduates are female and far too few young girls are studying those all-important STEM subjects. Until we are able to move the dial on female recruitment we are unlikely to see much movement on closing the gender pay gap.”
Earlier this month, the Government published draft Regulations that will require public-sector employers to report on their gender pay gap.
The public-sector Regulations are being introduced as part of the existing public-sector equality duty, rather than as a standalone requirement, however.