Voluntary gender pay gap reporting

New law in force

The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 10. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.

New proposals for measuring the gender pay gap

The Commission has issued new proposals for gender pay reporting in the private and third sectors. At the request of the Government the Commission has sought input from the business community, trade unions and other stakeholders to help develop workable arrangements for private and voluntary sector employers to measure and publish information on the gender pay gaps in their own organisations. This will be promoted on a voluntary basis.

The Government’s request was made in the context of the Equality Bill, which includes a clause enabling the Government at some future date, but no earlier than 2013, to require employers employing more than 250 employees to measure and publish information on their gender pay gaps. The Commission is aiming for a voluntary regime which will avoid the need for regulation being introduced at some future date. The Government’s aim is to promote greater transparency in pay systems, thereby enabling women to know whether or not their employer has a gender pay gap. The Commission will be monitoring the extent of take-up of these measures.

Employers can choose from three quantitative measurement options:  an overall single figure, or the starting salaries of male and female staff, or the differences between male and female pay by grade and job type. There is no “one size fits all” approach. The Commission will also offer the option of a narrative which would enable employers to explain the context. Narrative would not be a stand-alone element, but would have to be combined with at least one of the quantitative measures.

The Commission will expect  employers employing 500+ employees to use two or more options from this menu, in most cases a narrative plus one or more of the quantitative measures. The Commission will also expect employers employing 250 to 500 employees to opt for one of the quantitative indicators.

Baseline report

Alongside the proposals we have produced a report: 'Gender pay activity in large non-public sector organisations: Baseline report 2009'. This is the first annual report produced by the Commission to examine the nature and extent of existing measuring and publishing information on progress in closing the gender pay gap. The aim of this initial report is to establish a baseline from which the proposals for gender pay reporting can grow. We will produce similar reports on an annual basis for the next four years.

Download the reports:

Read our press release: Commission outlines new gender pay reporting proposals


In the development of this work we undertook a consultation exercise to help identify the most appropriate and least burdensome way for employers to report on progress in recognising and challenging gender pay inequality. We consulted employers in the private and voluntary sectors, as well as representative bodies and trade unions, and women working in these sectors. The consultation closed on 28 October 2009.

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