Implausible gender pay gap data to be investigated
14 August 2019
Following successful enforcement action against late reporters, over 10,500 large organisations have reported their gender pay gap for 2019.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will now be contacting organisations that have reported implausible data.
Following the April deadline, six organisations failed to respond to the EHRC’s warnings and formal investigations under Section 20 of the Equality Act were opened. As a result of the investigations, all six organisations have now reported their figures for this year and entered into formal legal agreements with EHRC, committing to report on time for the next five years. If the organisations fail to report on time again, they will face further action and could be taken to court and fined.
In May, 46 private sector and four public sector organisations were notified of EHRC’s intention to open statutory investigations into their failure to report their gender pay gap data on time and were also publicly named. This included three ‘repeat offenders’ that had failed to report on time two years in a row.
After being informed about the legal action, the majority of the organisations swiftly reported their gender pay gaps or EHRC were satisfied that they are out of the scope of the regulations.
EHRC is now turning its attention to those organisations that have reported implausible data. Any that are found to have submitted inaccurate data will be required to re-submit and could face further legal action.
EHRC has seen many examples of unbelievable data from employers. For example, reports of a 50/50 split of male and female employees and claims of no pay gap from the lowest-paid to the highest-paid roles.
EHRC is currently writing to 100 employers who have published suspicious-looking data, asking them to explain the rationale for their figures and requesting their payroll data.
Organisations which deliberately or negligently submit inaccurate data are breaking the law.
If organisations are found to have submitted inaccurate data, they will be required to re-submit their gender pay gap reports with accurate data and sign legal agreements with EHRCs. Ultimately, they could be taken to court and fined.
Employers should check their numbers carefully before they publish to avoid being in breach of the regulations.