Financial & Legal News

INSIGHT: Pay Gap Gulf in Employment

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Is your company one of the many in Britain to have a gender pay gap? Do you promote more male managers?  If that’s the case then you are typical of many in the UK according to a recent study

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) recently reported that women earn on average 18% less than men and the gap increases after women have children when they can receive up to 33% less an hour.

A second report has also said that male managers are 40% more likely than female managers to be promoted.

More than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act, there is however some encouraging news in the report. The current 18% gap in hourly wages is down from 23% in 2003 and 28% in 1993, the IFS notes.

Part-Time Work and the Pay Gap

The gap could be put down to women returning to reduced hours, but also highlights that many part-time workers lose out on subsequent pay-rises so their full-time male colleagues pull ahead in the wage ratings.

Recently Sports Direct workers returning from maternity leave are claiming they were moved on to zero-hours contracts relating to a breach-of-contract case in which workers say they were excluded from the retailer’s generous bonus scheme.

This type of contract does not allow employers to avoid their responsibilities. All staff, regardless of their contract, are entitled to employment rights and should be treated fairly and within the law. For example, the National Minimum Wage should be adhered to, regardless of the number of hours the worker undertakes. They are also entitled to statutory annual leave, rest breaks and protection from discrimination.

The Government has vowed to “end the gender pay gap in a generation” and new rules are coming in next April that will force bigger employers to publish their pay gap. We have seen employment law changes with shared parental leave but in reality few fathers take this option.

A separate report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) looked at the salary data of more than 60,000 UK managers and professionals. In the past year more men in management roles were promoted into higher positions compared with 10% of women.

The research cited the difference in promotion rates as one of the main causes of the gender pay gap with fewer women in executive positions. Women comprise 73% of the workforce in entry and junior level roles but female representation drops to 42% at senior management level and 32% at director level.

Commenting on the findings, Head of Employment, Susan Mayall, said:  “Whilst the gender pay gap has reduced over recent years, it still adversely affects women, particularly women with childcare responsibilities.

“If shared parental leave was taken up by more men, and if men and working women equally had childcare responsibility this would help to eradicate any difference. 

“Hopefully a time will come in the future when people will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about, but until a time when it is the norm and accepted by both employers and employees that both parents or carers take equal responsibility for childcare there will remain, in my view a gender pay gap.”


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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Susan Mayall


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