As the 4 April 2021, gender pay gap reporting deadline approaches, the UK government has published an updated set of guidance for employers on the gender pay gap reporting requirements. Although the reporting requirements have not changed, the guidance has been updated to include information for employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular relating to furlough leave and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

In March 2020, the Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended the requirement to report gender pay gap data for the 2019/20 reporting year in light of the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new government guidance makes it clear that “[n]o enforcement action has been taken against employers who did not report, or who reported late for the reporting year 2019/20… This is in recognition of the unprecedented uncertainty and pressure facing businesses in 2020 due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).” However, the government did not suspend the 2020/21 reporting period, so qualifying private sector employers will need to report this period’s gender pay gap by 4 April 2021, based on the snapshot date of 5 April 2020.

When to Include Furloughed Employees in Calculations

Employees who were furloughed under the CJRS on 5 April 2020, will count as relevant employees when determining the employer’s headcount. All employees on furlough should also be included in the gender pay gap calculations when:

  • calculating the percentage of men and women receiving bonus pay;
  • calculating the average (mean) gender pay gap using bonus pay; and
  • calculating the median gender pay gap using bonus pay.

Furloughed employees whose salaries were topped up to their usual full pay during the relevant pay period are full-pay relevant employees and should be included in all calculations.

When to Exclude Furloughed Employees from Calculations

Furloughed employees who received less than full pay on 5 April 2020, do not count as full-pay relevant employees and should be excluded from hourly rate calculations, as the reduction in their pay was because they were on a period of temporary leave. According to the guidance, employers must exclude employees on furlough who received less than full pay in their gender pay gap calculations when:

  • calculating the average (mean) gender pay gap using hourly pay;
  • calculating the median gender pay gap using hourly pay; and
  • calculating the percentage of men and women in each hourly pay quarter.

If an employer’s gender pay gap calculations are significantly impacted as a result of placing employees on furlough, employers may consider including an explanation for the changes in their accompanying narrative.

All other reporting requirements remain unchanged.

Below is a useful list of the guidances to help employers with their gender pay gap reporting this year:

Daniella McGuigan is a partner in the London office of Ogletree Deakins.

Carrie-Ann Hopkins is a paralegal in the London office of Ogletree Deakins.