International Women's Day: Hefty fines for firms who fail to report pay gap

Kate Proctor
Home Secretary Amber Rudd warned firms must comply with regulations or risk enforcement: EPA

Businesses across the country today received letters from the Government warning them to report on their gender pay gap — or risk facing legal action.

Companies with more than 250 employees are legally required to report their figures to the Government for the first time this year.

The deadline is the end of March for public companies and April 4 for the private sector. But only 1,600 firms have reported so far, despite an estimated 9,000 being required to do so.

In the letter sent to businesses, Home Secretary Amber Rudd warned firms must comply with regulations or risk enforcement, which could lead to a hefty fine. “Reporting your data is a crucial step in building a country that works for everyone,” Ms Rudd wrote in her letter, which coincides with International Women’s Day.

“We need you and other businesses, voluntary and public sector organisations to help drive this important change, so that together we can close the gender pay gap.” The current gender pay gap is 18.4 per cent, and the Equalities Office has estimated bridging the gap in work would add £150 billion to the UK economy by 2025.

Enforcement action on behalf of the Government Equalities Office would be carried out by the Equality Human Rights Commission, which has consulted on introducing a heavy fine for businesses that do not comply. It will finalise the exact process for enforcement later this year.

A Right-wing think tank came under fire today after it called for a ban on International Women’s Day. The Bow Group issued a statement saying “men have it tougher” with board member Philip Davies MP saying: “Men are increasingly getting a bad press.”

Bow Group Culture Fellow David Sergeant said: “International Women’s Day is unnecessary, and men have it tougher in the UK anyway.”