By David Hanson MP / Latest News / 0 Comments

International Women’s Day: Government Failing on Gender Pay Gap

I have discovered, through a series of Parliamentary Questions, that the Government has a worrying gender pay gap in every department that replied.

From 2018, companies with more than 250 employees will be required to make their gender pay gap publically available online, the government has announced.

Employers that fail to address gender pay disparities will also be highlighted in new league tables intended to drive progress.

As part of the long-awaited draft regulations on gender pay gap reporting, women and equalities minister Nicky Morgan said as well as forcing medium to large sized companies to publish their gender pay and bonus pay gap details on an annual basis, organisations will also be forced to publish how many women and men are in each pay range.

To highlight where the gap falls across the UK, companies’ pay gaps will be ranked by sector, in a league table that will allow women to see where the gap is and is not being addressed.

According to the latest ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, the gender pay gap for median earnings of full-time and part-time employees combined stands at 19.2 per cent, unchanged since 2014. At this current rate of change the TUC predicts it’ll take 47 years to reach gender pay parity across the UK.

9 government departments provided year on year data for 2014 and 2015. These include:

• Home Office
• DEFRA
• DECC
• Attorney General
• DfID
• Transport
• Education
• Health
• FCO

The Women and Equalities department also provided data for 2015.

In total 23 departments responded. Out of those 7 said that they could not provide the information, 3 gave link to ONS national statistics, which did not represent the data requested. In addition, Justice, the Northern Ireland Office, and Defence cited that it could only be provided at a disproportionate cost.

The worst performing department is the Attorney General’s office, which has a gender pay gap of -20.76%, or £5.62 an hour, in 2015.

The average gender pay gap between the 9 departments, that provided data for 2014 and 2015, was £2.16 an hour in 2015. That means that women are being paid on average £2.16 an hour less than men.

Moreover, the Women and Equalities department had a pay gap of nearly £2 an hour. The very department implementing the reforms aimed at abolishing the gender pay gap.

These figures are deeply concerning as we should be doing all we can to bring about equality, and the Government should lead by example.

For too long a glass ceiling has existed for women, and now we can see the Government is reinforcing that ceiling by not tackling the gender pay gap within Whitehall.

This follows on from the Government’s announcement that from 2018, companies with more than 250 employees will be required to make their gender pay gap publically available online. However, when government departments were asked to answer this very same question 7 departments failed to provide an answer, and three – Justice, the Northern Ireland Office and Defence – cited that the information could only be provided at disproportionate costs. The Government should be following its own policies that it is applying to the private sector.

We need policies that promote gender pay equality. This Government is failing to lead by example and is also failing women.