Gender Pay Gap Reporting ACAS Guidance

There is now a much greater emphasis on employers proving that there is not a gender pay gap in their workplaces and the scope has been expanded to include the whole organisation.

Below are some questions ACAS have put together and UNISON will be looking at employers and their reports over the coming months. UNISON Oxfordshire County would like to hear from you as to how you feel your employer is addressing the new legislation and whether you have concerns about unequal pay. Get in touch with us via email/phone or leave a comment on this post.

ACAS Top 10 Myths on Gender Pay Gap Reporting

MYTH: We did an equal pay audit a while ago so we’re fine
FACT: Equal Pay deals with comparing one job with another – the gender pay gap is about the difference in gender pay across a whole organisation.

MYTH: I only have a few female employees, I won’t make a difference
FACT: Every employee matters. And, chances are you might be in a business where women are underrepresented and you’re losing out on a massive talent pool.

MYTH: There’s not much of a gender pay gap these days is there?
FACT: Over time, things have improved but there is more to do – for example the Office for National Statistics has revealed that male financial managers and directors still earn 32.4% more than women in the same occupation.

MYTH: It’s always women who receive less money than men
FACT: Whilst it’s often the case that on average women earn less money than men in many workplaces, sometimes it can be men – pay gap reporting can help here too.

MYTH: It’s going to cost lots of money to get rid of my gender pay gap
FACT: Many changes involve addressing attitudes and practices rather than your bank balance – and some will save you money whilst improving staff retention.

MYTH: Does this mean I can’t reward talented staff for hard work any more?
FACT: Things like qualifications, outstanding achievements and a certain amount of relevant experience may be proper business reasons to reward people – but an employee’s gender isn’t one of them.

MYTH: These figures are just going to embarrass me
FACT: You’re probably more worried than you need to be. The important thing is to develop an action plan informed by the facts and provide a narrative, then post it.

MYTH: I need to be a maths genius to understand this stuff
FACT: There’s a bit to learn up front, but it really is about gathering your information and carrying out basic calculations using standard computer software – you might even have payroll software (or an amazing stats-loving employee) to help.

MYTH: There’s no business advantage to this at all
FACT: Global consultancy McKinsey estimates that bridging the UK gender gap in work has the potential to create an extra £150 billion on top of 2025 business-as-usual GDP forecasts.

MYTH: This is a lot of extra work – we already have an equality action plan
FACT: If you have an equality plan or similar, that’s great – build gender pay actions into it, but just remember to have the calculations clearly published on your website.

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UNISON Oxfordshire Rest Break Survey For Members

Do you get regular scheduled rest breaks?  Are you able to leave the premises or are you expected to be ‘on call’ at all times?  Are you aware of your rights under Working Time Regulations 1998 (UK Law that implements the EU Working Time Directive) for rest breaks and other entitlements?

The core rights that the Working Time Regulations provide are:

  • Paid annual leave of 28 days per year; 
  • A 48-hour limit on the average working week; 
  • A continuous 11 hours rest in every 24-hour period; 
  • A continuous 24 hours rest in every week; 
  • A 20 minute rest break in every work period over six hours; 
  • An eight-hour limit on average working hours in a 24-hour period for night workers; 
  • Free health assessments for night workers

Are you getting all of your entitlements here? There is strong evidence to suggest that these rights and obligations are not always being provided or fulfilled and we would like to find out more information as to whether or not this is the case in Oxfordshire, how widespread it may be and how we can support members both individually and collectively.

In the cases of those in positions where their job might be considered part of the continuity of care (ie in the health/care sector and certain aspects of home care) there is provision for what is called “Compensatory Rest” and if you don’t get your breaks on shift then you should be receiving this which mandates for.

“Compensatory rest is allowed when a worker has to work through a rest period. The employee is entitled to take the rest when possible, ideally on the same day. The regulations suggest that, as long as a worker receives at least 90 hours’ rest per week on average, then the rest obligations are being met.”  [ACAS Guidelines 2013]

Our survey can be accessed here, it is 10 short multiple choice questions and should not take any more than about 5 minutes.  It is anonymous and you will not be asked for specific details about yourself, only the type of workplace and the patterns of work.

If you have any questions or feedback regarding the survey then please feel free to contact us at the branch office or you can leave a comment below on this post.

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UNISON SE Region Equality Conference 2017

Registration form can be found here and should be sent to the branch office.

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UNISON SE Region Disabled Members Training Weekend June 2017


For further details and an application form please click here or contact the branch office.

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Sleep-ins and the National Minimum Wage

Recent case law has established that “sleep-ins” are covered by the National Minimum Wage (NMW) regulations.  So even if a worker is allowed to sleep at work, if they are required to stay at their workplace, then all their hours are covered by NMW regulations.

This means if any worker is paid – on average – less than the National Minimum Wage over their pay reference period* they will be entitled to a pay rise.  They may also be entitled to back pay but because working patterns vary enormously between individuals; this will need to be done on a case-by-case basis.

This issue will particularly affect our low paid members in the private or community and voluntary sector who do regular sleep-ins.  Members who are paid significantly above the NMW and who do sleep-ins are unlikely to be affected, because their pay will not to fall below the NMW on average over the pay reference period.

This will also affect personal assistants, whom UNISON has started to organise in two pilot projects, and have a wider citizenship impact on members, including disabled members, who either employ personal assistants for sleep-ins or pay for such care out of a personal budget.

This does not affect workers who are ‘on-call’ and are not required to be near their workplace.  It also does not mean that sleep-ins have to be paid at the NMW level, but just that, overall, total pay for total hours worked must be at least the NMW.

Examples

  • Worker A is paid weekly.
  • They work 30 hours a week at £ 7 / hour
  • They also do two sleep-ins of 10 hours each, each of which is paid at £30.
  • Overall, they have worked 50 hours, and have been paid £270.
  • Their average hourly pay is £5.40 an hour, which is less than the NMW.
  • So they are entitled to a pay rise to at least the NMW level overall, and possibly back pay.
  • Worker B is paid weekly.
  • They work 30 hours a week at £ 8 / hour
  • They also do one sleep-in of 10 hours, for which they are paid £30.
  • Overall, they have worked 40 hours, and have been paid £270.
  • Their average hourly pay is £6.75 an hour, which is more than the NMW.
  • So they are NOT entitled to a pay rise, under NMW regulations.

*The pay reference period is the time over which the worker is usually paid – usually monthly or weekly.

Relevant case law:

Esparon T/A Middle West Residential Care Home v Slavikovska UKEAT/0217/12/DA;  Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Limited UKEAT/0128/13/BA

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