2020: meeting the gender pay gap deadline

The current health crisis has upended the priorities of HR departments. In the best case, employees are working from home, often on rotas. In extreme cases, employees are being moved to reduced hours, job sharing arrangements or redundancy. These are unprecedented times that are likely to change the way we work and live. 

If we can take a small positive from it all, many organisations that previously were not equipped to enable working from home, or flexibly now are. One of the biggest barriers to solving the gender pay gap, is women constrained by the lack of flexible working arrangements. The difference won’t be seen in the short term, but in the long term it could help to address the imbalance.

Given these current pressures, we understand from speaking to a number of HR professionals that they are concerned about completing their gender pay gap reports on time. In some cases, there may be temptation to meet the minimum legislative requirements and submit only what’s required, minus the narrative. 

However, it remains important to produce reports that are accurate and explain your current position and plans to address your gap. Analysis undertaken by Spktral associate and Chartered Statistician Nigel Marriot, shows around 20% of reports contain inaccurate data. This is due to a number of common mistakes:

  • Not understanding the difference between headcount, relevant employees, workers, etc. i.e. who to include & exclude.
  • Not understanding what is ‘earnings’, ‘bonus’ or ‘neither’.
  • Thinking that the median earnings or bonus is the “middle value” when it isn’t.
  • Not realising that quartiles are actually quarters.
  • Entering quarter figures the wrong way around.
  • Entering pay gaps as positive numbers when they should be negative – and vice versa.
  • Not knowing how to calculate percentage differences.
  • Focusing solely on the gender pay gap in your narrative when you should be commenting on the gender pay ‘fingerprint’.
  • Not understanding how sample size makes a major difference to your ability to decide if any changes are meaningful.

Some of these mistakes are made inhouse, but we have also seen incorrect data being produced by payroll providers and HR information systems providers that don’t apply the required level of attention to detail. When using such systems, its essential to ensure that the data inputs are in accordance with the legislation. 

So how can we help? There are three ways – by preparing your:

  1. Gender pay gap data for this year to ensure that it’s accurate and that you submit before the deadline.
  2. Narrative and plan for change.
  3. 2020 report – it might feel early to prepare, but starting work on it at the end of April could make sense.

Our service runs end-to-end covering the full process from sorting your data to preparing your final report – we can even do it all for you, allowing you to focus your time and effort on more important issues at this difficult time. 

We’ve simplified the process by developing a cloud-based platform specifically to meet this need. This is combined with a telephone-based service to assist with data and preparation of your narrative. Throughout, we can apply a high degree of rigour in a cost-effective way thanks to our technology.

As this is a cloud-based platform you can upload your data and use the tools throughout the period of the licence – 12 months or three years – enabling you to track progress and plan for different scenarios. The key difference is that our platform gives you control and access to your data and the tools whenever you require. 

If you would like some help in these unprecedented times, please get in touch by emailing us at hello@spktral.com.


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