male_femaleA change to the law, which will now not come into effect until 2018, will require businesses with 250 employees or more to publish any differences in average salaries and bonuses between their male and female employees.

Originally, firms could reveal the figures voluntarily, but because only a handful of companies came forward, parliament pushed through a law to make publishing the figures mandatory. However, female employees will now have to wait a further two years to find out if they are paid less than their male counterparts as the government announced a delay to plans for a league table ranking firms that will show which types of companies are the worst offenders.

Nicky Morgan, the minister for women and equalities, said: “In recent years we’ve seen the best employers make ground-breaking strides in tackling gender inequality. But the job won’t be complete until we see the talents of women and men recognised equally and fairly in every workplace. That’s why I am announcing a raft of measures to support women in their careers from the classroom to the boardroom, leaving nowhere for gender inequality to hide.”

According to Government statistics there are around 8,000 businesses employing 250 employees or more. Although that’s only around 0.1% of the number of businesses in the UK, due to their size they still hire a large number of people – over 10 million in fact, which is around 40% of the total UK workforce.

It is illegal to pay different amounts to men and women doing the same jobs under the Equal Pay Act. But estimates from the Office for National Statistics suggest the pay gap currently stands at 19.2% for full- and part-time workers in the UK, meaning a woman on average earns around 80p for every £1 earned by a man.

For more information visit: The Guardian