Legislation can make a positive impact
In all honesty, it’s not very often that a legislation is passed that makes a truly positive impact not only on modern culture but actually on employees as individuals.
2016 is shaping up to be a groundbreaking year for ‘the people’, and I predict that in turn this is going to result in a positive one for businesses too. That is not to overlook the amount of work that is being placed on employers across the country, but I feel that the time and effort required is going to be well placed.
Gender Pay Reporting
The gender pay gap only closed by 4% from 2006-2015 (from 56% to 60%). These shocking statistics, along with some high profile cases in the UK have forced our Government to take action and force transparency along with the permanent closure of the pay gap.
It is currently reported that women earn 9.4% less than their male counterparts – this works out to be a figure of around £100; when put in a monetary value, drives home the sheer necessity to close the gap.
Gender Pay Reporting requires those companies with more than 250 employees to gather and eventually publish, specific information about the salary and bonuses paid to male and female staff. The information is as follows:
- The number of male and female colleagues in the business
- The difference in both the mean and median pay between male and female staff
- The difference in the mean bonus payment between male and female staff
- The proportion of male and female employees that received bonus pay
Businesses are not called to publish their data until April 2018, when it will be published on their website where it can be accessed by the general public, including employees. The first data will be dated back 12 months to April 2017.
There is also rumour of public comparison of the data, to be published by the government, as Tim Kellet, Managing Director at Paydata explains, “There has been much discussion in the media about the government publishing “league tables” to name and shame offending specific employers. In reality the government has currently only proposed to publish league tables of industry sectors. However, given that employers are required to submit their information directly to the government, it would be unsurprising if, insufficient progress is not made towards closing the pay gap; offending employers are eventually named.“
Of course, while the information has the potential to cause massive unrest and a current of resentment amongst staff, what employers actually have here is an opportunity. Even those businesses that aren’t required to submit their findings should take heed, because it would be ignorant to think that the media hype won’t lead to scrutiny by their own staff. Businesses large and small now have the potential to create a workplace that is at the forefront of the industry, one that is proactive in closing the gap and be a place its staff feel confident that they are treated fairly and equally, resulting to high levels of motivation and productivity.
Thanks to advances in medicine, a focus on lifestyle and diet and overall better living and working conditions, the average life expectancy has increased to 82.
As you can imagine, the Department of Work and Pensions are more than a little nervous as this means each induvial will potentially be spending more than 20 years in retirement. It’s safe to say that the meagre state pension is far from being an amount that is going to support us. Along with this, the age we live in means that instant gratification is a way of life as we can order and obtain most things literally from our fingertips. Saving for our future is simply not a priority.
It is for this reason that The Workplace Pension (Auto Enrolment) was put into place. Work has been going on behind the scenes by employers for some time now and the time is coming where individuals up and down the country will be automatically placed onto their company’s pension scheme.
Before October 2018, all eligible employees will be paying into a pension scheme, as well as having their contribution topped by both their employers and their government. To be eligible, employees must be over the age of 22, earn more than £10,000 and work in the UK. For those members of staff that are not eligible, they can still opt to join the scheme and while their contributions will be alongside one from their government, the employer is not obligated to add to the pot.
While this may not have a huge impact on the day to day life of your team, it is another benefit that they are supported in their position and confident about their future. The fact that they are not required to undertake the organisation of the scheme takes an enormous weight off their shoulders, whilst still able to enjoy the benefits.
I strongly urge all business owners and those within a senior position to conduct thorough research to ensure they are able to answer any questions that may be put to them from staff. Nothing will kill motivation dead like the feeling of uncertainty.
While it is easy to lose objectivity when lost in the sheer volume of work that has recently placed on the leaders within a business in order to ensure they comply with the new legislation, it’s important to focus on the end result it will bring and the light in which the business will be placed. Modern culture is lavishing praise on those businesses who are focused on looking after its employees, not only increasing brand awareness, building strong brand advocates but also making you an attractive option when it comes to the talent pool.