Companies with over 250 employees must now demonstrate how committed they are to gender equality by giving details of pay gaps between male and female staff.
An amendment to the popular Small Business Bill means that pay gap reporting is no longer voluntary. The previous system meant that companies could choose whether to get involved with the reporting initiative, but only 270 out of 7,000 companies signed up – and only five agreed to publish their gender pay gap data.
Despite the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, women in full-time employment continue to earn around 9.4% less than their male counterparts. Those in part-time work earn 37.9% less.
The issue is clearly felt to be a serious injustice. Overall, the number of employment tribunals fell by 70-80% following the government’s introduction of a fee system – but the number of tribunals brought by complainants claiming unequal pay has barely dropped at all.
What’s more, the pay gap is believed to have actually increased in 2013, according to the CIPD.