A new study has warned that UK legislation aimed at tackling the gender pay gap ‘has no teeth’ and simply focuses on monitoring the problem rather than trying to fix it.
Analysis by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London and the Fawcett Society compared gender pay gap reporting in the UK and five other countries: Australia, France, Spain, Sweden and South Africa. The researchers scored each nation’s system across 11 indicators, with the UK ranked joint lowest alongside Australia.
The report did commend the UK for the transparency of its reporting system and high levels of compliance, which it said facilitated public and media scrutiny of employers. However, the fact that UK legislation places no mandate on employers to address pay gaps means there is no pressure on organisations to take action.
This position was contrasted with the situation in Spain, South Africa, France and Sweden, where employers are required to follow up on their action plans. One of the report’s recommendations states that ‘action plans are essential for change’, while stakeholders interviewed in the UK almost unanimously felt that organisations with pay gaps should be compelled to produce and act on plans with pay gaps should be compelled to produce and act on plans with clearly stated goals and timelines.