The UK gender pay gap is 18.1% for all workers, or 9.4% for full-time staff.
Women and Equalities minister Justine Greening said “helping women to reach their full potential isn’t only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense…today we have made gender pay gap mandatory – a key step to closing the gender pay gap“.
About half of the UK workforce will be affected by the new reporting rules, which encompass 9,000 employers and more than 15 million employees.
Public, private and voluntary sector firms are now all required to disclose average pay for men and women, including any bonuses. Firms must publish a snapshot of their employee pay as at 5 April 2017 if they are a private business or charity, or 31 March 2017 for those in the public sector. All the data will eventually be available on a government database.
A few firms had already published their figures prior to the government’s campaign launch.
The gender pay gap refers to the difference in average pay between men and woman, which the Office for National Statistics works out using median hourly earnings figures for UK employees.
Other countries are also working to eradicate the gender pay gap. Iceland is debating a bill that would require companies with more than 25 employees to prove they do not discriminate between male and female workers.
The country has the smallest gap, according to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Pay Gap Index, while the UK is in 20th place.