"We will make every single company with 250 employees or more publish the gap between average female earnings and average male earnings...That will cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women's wages up."
While it has long been illegal to discriminate in pay based on gender, the average gender pay gap in the UK remains a stubborn 20%. The new rules will affect approximately 8,000 employers and become effective in April 2017.
While employers will not be required to explain the pay gap, they will have to publish the number of men and women in each salary
range where pay discrepancies exist.
Some are critical of this initiative as an exercise in "naming and shaming
" while others think the government has not gone far enough by not requiring firms reporting a gap to explain themselves and providing a plan to remediate the gap.
While this kind of disclosure is quite shocking to Americans, over time, we wonder whether our own government may propose something similar. In the meantime, many U.S. companies with British subsidiaries will end up having to disclose their information on the pay gap. We'll keep watching this space.
To do your part in closing the gender pay gap, see how your pay stacks up in our anonymous salary database.