Plans go further than rest of UK
Public bodies forced to disclose gender pay gap
Public authorities are to be forced to publish information on the pay gap between male and female employees.
Proposed regulations will mean public bodies with more than 20 employees will be required to disclose gender pay gap information and statements on equal pay.
Currently, the Scottish Government requires public authorities that have more than 150 employees to publish this information, whereas proposed UK wide regulations will only apply to public and private sector authorities with more than 250 employees.
Speaking at Unite Scotland’s first ever policy conference, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the regulations have been laid before Parliament, with the aim that they are approved before the end of session in March, as part of her commitment to support equal pay and to challenge the gender pay gap.
The First Minister says: “In promoting good employment practices, I want the public sector to lead by example.
“If you take gender equality as an example, we are currently leading a 5050 by 2020 campaign to encourage the public , third and private sector companies to commit to gender equality in the boardroom.
“That’s part of a much broader commitment to boosting female employment and tackling gender segregation in careers and modern apprenticeships.”
The First Minister adds: “At the moment, over 90% of public sector boards have now made a commitment to work towards gender balance on their boards by 2020. The gender pay gap has reduced in Scotland in recent years, but we know it remains a persistent problem.
“One way to challenge the gender pay gap is to shine a light on it and to force organisations to look at how they determine pay and who is paid what. Proposed UK wide regulations will see only organisations with more than 250 employees required to report on their gender pay gap. In the public sector in Scotland, organisations with more than 150 employees are required to make such statements.
“However we believe that those requirements should be strengthened.”
If approved, the regulations will go further than elsewhere in the UK and Ms Sturgeon says they are “a further recognition that the gender pay gap has no place in a modern and equal society.”
She adds: “The Scottish Government, and the wider public sector, must lead by example in its elimination.
“The key point in all of this is that progressive workplace practices are in an organisation’s own best interests. They enable as wide a talent pool as possible to contribute as fully as possible to a business’s success.”
In the 2015 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government committed to amend the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012, to lower the threshold for listed public authorities to publish their gender pay gap and an equal pay statement containing information on equal pay policy and occupational segregation, from those with more than 150 employees to those with more than 20 employees, further strengthening the existing programme of activity to promote gender equality.
This is in addition to an earlier Programme for Government 2014 commitment to impose a new requirement on public bodies to publish the composition of their boards, made as part of the Scottish Government’s broader work to further equality and diversity, and specifically its commitment to promoting improved gender balance on the boards of private, public and third sector bodies.