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Icelandic approach to gender pay gap: should the UK take note?

13 April 2017 #Employment


As reported in our previous articles: Gender Pay - revised and Gender Pay 2016. UK employers with more than 250 employees are now required to publish reports regarding their gender pay gap on an annual basis.

Amidst the criticism of the Gender Pay Gap Regulations is the argument that the new Regulations actually offer very little in terms of information. For example, employers’ reports will not differentiate between pay for full-time and part-time employees, nor will they draw comparisons of mean and median pay gaps for specific job roles. What we are left with, is a vague picture of what an employer’s gender pay gap may be. Employers will of course be able to add finer details via their explanatory statements but does this really go far enough? The answer is not really, not by Icelandic standards.

Reducing the gender pay gap is firmly on Iceland’s agenda.  A Bill has been put before Parliament which would result in employers facing audits in order to gain equal pay certificates and  potential fines should they fail to comply. This is in stark contrast to the UK position. Leaving reputational damage aside, there are no financial penalties for employers which fail to publish its gender pay gap information.

With a reduction of just 1.1% in the UK gender pay gap for full-time employees over the last five years, the UK may arguably benefit from more drastic measures to reduce the gender pay gap. It remains to be seen what form this will take and perhaps reporting is just a small part of the reforms which must be made in order to close the gender pay gap completely. New initiatives to attract women to certain sectors, increased networking opportunities and greater financial support for childcare are all seen as positive steps to help reduce the gender pay gap. It certainly seems that a more conjoined approach may help completely close the gender pay gap a lot sooner. Deloitte currently estimates that it will take until 2069 for this to be achieved.    

If you need help with analysing your gender pay gap or drafting your explanatory statement, please speak to a member of our Employment team.  

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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Kate Walsh

Kate Walsh
Senior Solicitor

E: kwalsh@clarkslegal.com
T: 0118 960 4692
M: 07776 305 578

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