Rise in gender pay cases expected after BBC row

The resignation of the BBC's China editor, Carrie Gracie, over equal pay is likely to encourage many more women to take action over pay, according to employment lawyers.

Nick Elwell-Sutton, employment partner at Clyde and Co, has told People Management that Gracie's actions "will impact the number of queries about gender pay gap reporting and equal pay" his firm receives. He said: "The effect of Gracie's resignation and the gender pay reporting regulations is that more employees will be likely to come forward to enquire about pay discrepancies in their organisation."

Gender pay reporting is set to become law on 4 April 2018. It means that organisations with 250 or more employees must publish the difference between the mean and median hourly pay and bonus payments rate for their full-time male and female employees.

These findings must then be published on the Government pay gap reporting website as well as the company's own website.

According to People Management, only 550 of an estimated 9,000 employers have published their figures to date. The BBC's 2017 gender pay report found that there was an average pay gap of 9.3% between its male and female employees.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that UK women are losing out on nearly £140 billion a year in wages due to the gender pay gap. On average, men working full-time earn £39,003 a year, compared to women's average full-time wage of £29,891.

According to analysis by the Young Women's Trust, this is because male employees tend to be paid more, reach higher positions and are more likely to work in higher-paid industries.

Dr Carole Easton, chief executive of the Young Women's Trust, said: "We may have an equal vote but women are still fighting for equal pay. We need urgent action to close the pay gap. Real equality means supporting women into better-paid, male-dominated sectors like engineering and construction and tackling low pay in women-dominated sectors. Without action, today's young women face a lifetime of unequal pay."

Acas has put together a set of resources to help employers meet their gender pay gap reporting duties. These include guides, fact sheets and a reporting notification template. Acas also offers gender pay reporting training events .

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