Gender Pay Gap

Caragh Bailey
5 min read
Gender Pay Gap from Employment Law Friend

What is the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is the calculated annual average disparity of the hourly wage figures between men and women across a workforce. This is done across all their employees and not differentiated between full-time and part-time. This means the overall difference between how much the male employees are earning vs the female employees. It is not made to specify who earns what, but to provide a framework as to why a gender pay gap exists, and what can be done about it.

In 2017 it was made a legal Government requirement in the UK that all large employers, across all sectors, with a workforce of over 250 people must publish an annual report on their gender pay gap.

Gender Pay Gap at 15.5% as of April 2020

Why do we need these reports?
  • To provide an explanation of their pay gap
  • To measure progress
  • To gain an understanding of the circumstances surrounding the cause of their pay gap

See the FAQ’s at the bottom of this page to find out more about these circumstances.

You employer must draw the data from the payroll on a ‘Snapshot Date’ each year and submit the report by a certain date the following year.

Snapshot on:
Report by:
Public Sector
31st March current year
30th March following year
Private & Voluntary
5th April current year
4th April following year

Your employer must make these results available to you, the employee, with a statement which confirms that the calculation is accurate. These must appear on the company or organization’s website, as well as the Office for National Statistics release.

2020 report:
Employers did not have to release this report in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, employers with 250 or more employees on the relevant snapshot must publish their 2020/2021 report with a written statement by 4th April 2021. 

The median gender pay gap is the figure which is more widely reported. This is calculated by listing all the male and female wages from highest to lowest, and comparing the number that sits in the middle for each gender.

A positive measure indicates that women earn, on average, less than their male counterpart. For example if an organisation has a 15% gap, the women earn an average of 15% less per hour than men. A negative measure indicates that women earn, on average, more than their male counterpart. A –15% gender pay gap would mean that woman earned an average of 15% more than men.

Example: A negative gender pay gap:
A Care organisation employs 305 staff across six residential homes providing specialist dementia care. The employees are predominantly female. The highest-paid employees are highly qualified nursing and managerial staff, only three of whom are male. At each home four to five men are employed as maintenance staff and drivers. These jobs are relatively low paid. The mean and median gender pay gap calculations show gaps in favour of women, and its pay quartiles show the predominance of women in all four quartiles. The company does not pay bonuses. The narrative points to the predominance of women in the care home sector as a whole, and to the shortage of suitably qualified male carers. It also sets out what action it is taking to recruit more men into its caring and nursing roles, and explains that, given its mixed-sex client profile, attracting more men is a business priority.

The gender pay gap is frequently confused with the equal pay gap, which refers to the difference in wage between a male and a female who are in the same position or doing the same or broadly similar work. This is classed as gender inequality in the workplace, remember everyone is legally entitled to equal pay for equal work. Knowing the company's gender pay gap would not give women in the workforce means to challenge unequal pay, they would need specific knowledge of what their colleagues earn. There are a range of factors behind pay gaps which do not mean that discrimination is happening. See our FAQ’s for examples.

Frequently Asked Questions
No, having a gender pay gap is not illegal, but it is a compulsory measure that all UK employers across each sector must publish their pay gap data. Unequal pay is illegal. Find out more about gender inequality in the workplace.
Factors and characteristics which cause a gender pay gap across a work force may include, but are not limited to:
  • Part-time working hours – a higher percentage of women are working part-time and the average hourly wage for part-time work tends to be lower than for full-time.
  • More men in senior roles than women and gender norms that see women going into lower paid jobs.
  • Unpaid caring responsibilities or the ‘motherhood gap’ – women make up a higher percentage of carers. The high cost of child care provides a great influence on the percentage of women who are unable to commit to more flexible and long working hours. They may have to work part-time and be less likely to progress than one of their male colleagues. Female care givers may not be able to commute for work giving them less opportunity in senior, higher paid roles.

Are you being paid less than a colleague of the opposite sex?
You cannot make a claim for a gender pay gap across your workforce. However, if you are being paid less that a member of the opposite sex doing an equal job, you may be able to make an equal pay claim. Get in contact with us and see how we can help.

Employment Law Specialist | Competitive Quotes | Straight Talking Legal Support

This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of our company. For employment law advice please get in contact and speak to your employment law solicitors.
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