First Gender Pay Gap investigations to start in June

Correspondence published today by the Treasury Select Committee suggests that the first investigations into non-compliance with the Gender Pay Gap reporting obligations could start as early as June this year.

A letter from Rebecca Hilsenrath, CEO of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee confirms that the EHRC anticipates commencing the first tranche of its investigations into non-compliance at the beginning of June. The letter also confirms that the EHRC will publish details of all employers that reach the investigation stage. 

Since 4 April, all charities and private companies with 250 or more employees have been required to publish their gender pay gap calculations. For public sector bodies, the deadline was 30 March.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has previously said that 1,557 firms missed the deadline.

The EHRC has the power to take enforcement action against any employer that does not comply with the regulations.  

Private sector employers risk investigation under section 20 of the Equality Act 2006. If the EHRC concludes that the employer has committed an unlawful act, it will issue an unlawful act notice. Failure to comply with this notice may result in the EHRC applying for a court order, the breach of which is punishable upon conviction with an unlimited fine.

Kerri Constable, Associate Director from RSM Employer Services Limited said:

‘We have previously warned employers that failure to comply with the gender pay gap rules on time runs the risk of reputational damage. 

‘Clearly, the EHRC is not wasting any time in launching investigations into any private sector companies that it suspects of being in breach of the new rules. Swift action will need to be taken by affected companies if they wish to avoid being publicly named.’