Richard Nicolle speaks to Lexis Nexis about the warning by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that hundreds of companies face legal action for failing to report their gender pay gap by the deadline.
The article looks at whether the EHRC’s “zero-tolerance” approach and any barriers to this crackdown and says:
“Why did companies fail to report?
Richard Nicolle, partner at Stewarts, discusses why companies failed to disclose their gender pay gap, adding that it was ‘always anticipated’ that a significant number of businesses would not comply:
‘Many companies are inefficient and have not given this time-consuming task the appropriate prioritisation, perhaps in the hope that it will all go away.
‘Analogously, a similar level of default is probable in respect of the current, and more onerous, process of implementing the General Data Protection Regulation.’
Nicolle adds that some companies may simply be ‘reluctant to acknowledge publicly the extent of adverse pay differentials.’
What would ‘zero tolerance’ mean?
Nicolle adds: ‘However, it remains opaque what zero tolerance could mean in this instance. The government did not introduce criminal or civil sanction into the two regulations that govern gender pay gap reporting, and it is difficult to conclude that any failure to report could attract any of the sanctions laid out in Equalities Act 2010.
‘Whatever form enforcement of penalty eventually takes, it’s questionable whether the government has the resources and commitment to follow through on the EHRC’s solid public statements.
‘It might be that the EHRC’s stated vigorous response to non-compliance is driven by a desire to be seen to be “doing something”.’”
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