The Government has confirmed that it intends to legislate by mid-2016 to require all private and voluntary sector employers in England, Scotland and Wales with at least 250 employees to publish the gap between average female and male earnings. The legislation will not require employers to act on the data they publish and they will not be required to undertake equal pay audits.
However, the intention behind the compulsory publication of pay gap information is to encourage employers to recognise that there is a pay gap and consider how to eliminate it. It will provide an opportunity for employers to consider other factors behind the pay gap such as motherhood, caring responsibilities and promotion.
Although the legislation itself will not require employers to take action, employees armed with information from their employer that confirms that there is a gender pay gap will perhaps be more likely to pursue equal pay claims.