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Retail sector urged to have their say on how to close the gender pay gap

FBR Staff Writer Published 18 August 2015

Retail firms across the country are being called on to respond to a major Government consultation on how to close the gender pay gap.

Latest figures show that the industry has a 20.06 per cent pay gap - the difference between the average salaries of men and women based on hourly rates - which is higher than the national average of 19.1 per cent.
It is already unlawful to pay men and women differently for the same job - this is about understanding and overcoming other barriers that are preventing women achieving their full potential and making their maximum contribution to the economy.
Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron, announced that employers with more than 250 employees will have to publish the difference in pay between men and women as part of the Government's ambition to end the gender pay gap in a generation.
The gender pay gap is at its lowest rate on record, and there are more women at work than ever before. There are just three weeks left for employers to respond to the consultation that explores how the new regulations will be designed.

Minister for Women, Equalities and Family Justice Caroline Dinenage said:
"We have more women in work than ever before but the stubborn pay gap between men and women still persists. By taking steps to tackle this and increase transparency, employers can retain real talent. This isn't just common sense, it makes good business sense too.

"That's why we're urging the retail sector to come forward and have their say so together we can consign the gender pay gap to the history books."
One retail firm that is already working hard to support women achieve their potential is Tesco. They have signed up to the Government's Think, Act, Report programme. Tesco completed their first equal pay audit in 2002 by comparing the amount men and women were paid across our entire UK workforce, and have published their gender pay gap since 2011.

Judith Nelson, UK People Director at Tesco said:
"As one of Britain's biggest employers, we recognise the importance of helping all our colleagues achieve their potential. Monitoring the pay gap between men and women is crucial to ensuring everyone is fairly rewarded for their work and enjoys the same opportunities, which is why we've monitored gender pay since 2002 and reported it publicly since 2011.
"We're proud that the pay gap between men and women at Tesco currently stands at less than 1%."

The consultation, which was launched on 14 July and closes on 6 September explores how the new regulations on gender pay gap reporting will be designed, including what, where and when information will be published. It is also seeking views on what more can be done to encourage girls to consider the widest range of careers, support parents returning to work and help women of all ages reach their full potential and have the security of a well-paid job.
Greater transparency will encourage employers to be more proactive in taking action to address the gender pay gap. By taking steps to close the gap, employers can better attract, develop and retain talented women, creating a balanced and diverse workforce because maximising female talent isn't only the right thing to do, it's good for business and it's good for the economy.
Many companies will not even know they have a gender pay gap. Greater transparency can therefore encourage employers to think about what may be causing this, and how they can help tackle it.
The causes of the gender pay gap are complex and there are many factors involved, not just discrimination. Other factors include:
o the concentration of women working in lower-paid professions than men;
o women are three times as likely as men to work part time (often in order to combine childcare and work) and part time work is on average less well paid compared to full time work
o corporate culture or unconscious bias
o fewer women getting to the top
o sometimes personal choice
Other work the Government is doing to help address the gender pay gap includes:
o Extending the right to request flexible working to all employees - 20.6 million employees now benefit from this;
o Introducing shared parental leave;
o Introducing tax breaks for childcare;
o Funding 30 hours of free childcare a week for working families with 3 and 4 year old children;
o Pay secrecy clauses are now unlawful;
o Introducing mandatory pay audits for companies losing equal pay claims;
o Encouraging more girls to study STEM subjects, by supporting the Your Life campaign.

Source: Company Press Release