Will The New Pay Gap Laws Help Women?

The pay gap between men and women currently stands at 19.2%. Yep, the depressing truth is that in 2016 the average woman still earns significantly less than her male colleagues – 14.5% to be precise.

After what feels like years of discussion the government have today commited to implementing new measures to increase transparency surrounding this imporant issue.

Women and Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan has confirmed that any business or voluntary organisation that employs more than 250 people will be forced to publish on their website how much both their female and male employees earn.

This data – which must include both salary and bonus details – will be published in a league table format that will highlight the worse offending companies. These new regulations will affect 8000 companies across the UK and will come into place from April 2017.

While this all sounds great, the big question is: will it help to reduce the pay gap?

We asked two women for their opinions:

“Yes – it’s an amazing start”

Lindsay Pattison, worldwide CEO of Maxus, a WPP media agency and president of Women in Advertising and Communications

“I regularly speak out about sexism, the pay gap and what can be done to help women reach senior levels. So, unsurprisingly, a couple of months ago I was challenged to investigate the pay gap within our company. I found out that in the UK the gap is actually 0.5% in favour of women, and globally men are paid 4% more. And that’s across all levels. In senior positions there’s not much of a gap – but it’s the middle and lower roles that women seem to struggle in. And now I know what our gap is, we can do something about it. Being so transparent will help women reach more senior positions, and challenge their bosses to pay them the same as their male counterparts. It will also make companies balance their books – especially as David Cameron has given them a year to look into it, and change accordingly. No company is going to want to be revealed as being sexist – it will put off young, driven people for applying for them and that means they’ll never progress. Yes, it’s going to take time – but I truly believe this first step is going to make a huge difference and that by 2020 things should be a lot more even footed.”

“No – The Pay Gap Isn’t The Problem”

Kate Andrews, 25, Head Of Communication at the Adam Smith Institute, a free market think tank that focuses on domestic policy

“Forcing businesses with more than 250 employees to publish their ‘pay gaps’ will only promote confusion, as at the end of the day, it’s just numbers on a spreadsheet. There’s no such thing as a typical salary – education, previous experiences and unique skills all contribute to how much you take home at the end of the month. Revealing this will only cause tension within the workplace, without actually anything to help women. Statistics show that the pay gap is actually a bit of a myth. If you’re a woman today in the UK, aged between 22 and 39, working more than 30 hours a week, you actually earn, on average, more than your male counterparts. But the reality is that women often have to make different career decisions to have children and, as a result, have to take time off that will affect their pay throughout their lives. This may not be something they even want to do, but it is still widely accepted as the norm in today’s society. In order to really make things fairer in the workplace the government needs to be concentrating on making parental leave a real option, so that men can take the option to take time out of their careers also. That’s the only way to tackle the inbuilt sexism we all still experience today.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments… 

SEE: J-Law speaks out on the gender pay gap

By Elizabeth Bennett