With April just around the corner, the time is nearing for businesses with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay gap figures for the world to see. It is part of the government’s push to reduce gender equality in the UK between males and females in the workplace, their salaries and their bonuses.
While there are some amazing companies out there offering some fantastic family-friendly benefits to their male and female employees there is concern that these family-friendly benefits, which are often only accepted by females, could skew the overall figures of a company and make the pay gap look a lot worse.
Of course we celebrate any opportunity for the playing field to be levelled between men and women, but we are aware that the gender pay gap report only paints half a picture. The figures will not reflect the total remuneration package of staff which makes it hard to see if employees are paid the same but choose to take their pay as a full salary or a combination of salary and benefits for example.
There are increasing demands on family life and an eye-watering cost of childcare for many parents. As those working parents try to create a better work-life balance for themselves and companies support them in this with salary sacrifice schemes such as childcare vouchers, flexible working and extra holidays – this can actually result in the company looking worse as these companies may be unfairly judged in the gender pay gap report.
Reports show that 95% of employers offer their working parents childcare vouchers via a salary sacrifice, and this is one of the top three employee benefits across the UK. However, if more women than men opted for these childcare vouchers then it will make the gender pay gap appear to be much bigger than it is.
Those companies offering senior part time roles for women to support them with their family and work-life balance could also be looked upon negatively after the gender pay gap report too because the data doesn‘t show part-time employees receive lower bonuses as they work less hours. On average 60% of mums with children under the age of 4 years old opt for part time work or flexible hours; this is their own choice and companies are being supportive in helping them, but the report will show them in a bad light.
Its tricky grounds for business owners, while they don’t want their reputation as a company that cares about their employees, they also want to help those employees that are parents and want to strike to a work/life balance for their families.
We all know that when a business has a satisfied workforce they will have employees that work harder and stay with the company longer and this is what business need to focus on as it is what is really important. If you are offering benefits that your employees value then you should continue doing this, regardless of how this is shown in the gender pay gap report, because it is this that makes your employees happy.