As employers with over 250 employees race towards the mandatory Gender Pay Gap ("GPG") reporting finish line, we thought it would be useful to share our experience and insights with you as you come down the home stretch. This is the first insight bulletin of our GPG Reporting Countdown Series that we will be publishing over the course of December.
In-scope companies are generally well-versed on the overarching reporting requirements (as set out in our earlier publication: Gender Pay Gap Reporting - Top 10 FAQs) and so, this bulletin answers some trickier questions facing clients as they complete the hard graft of identifying and categorising payroll components.
We have only one part-time employee, how do we handle this?
Where there is only one part-time employee or one fixed-term employee for example, no reporting obligation arises as no GPG can exist. As part of the narrative, companies should explain the reason why no metrics are included for the relevant category.
We have a number of part-time employees but only one is male. The workforce knows that there is only one part-time male employee. We are concerned about data protection, do we have to report this?
There is nothing in the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 ("Act") or the Employment Equality Act 1998 (Section 20a) (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2022 ("Regulations") that can be relied upon to withhold publishing the metrics of this category of employees, even where there is a risk of inadvertently identifying one of the employees. There are, however, specific data protection considerations and while none of them are insurmountable, there are a number of steps that should be taken to ensure compliance with data protection obligations.
We have a full-time employee who has been out of the office on unpaid sick leave since the start of the year. Should we include him in our calculations?
Although this employee comes within the definition of a "relevant employee" for the purposes of the GPG reporting regime, a key point is that only hours for which an employee receives pay from their employer are taken into account in calculating hourly remuneration and hours worked.
As a result, this individual will not impact upon calculations as his pay will be 'nil' and his hours worked will be 'nil' for the entire reporting period.
We have a number of senior employees whose responsibilities are split between the Irish entity and a foreign entity within our group. Their pay is also split accordingly. How do we handle this?
The Act or the Regulations do not provide specific guidance on the inclusion or otherwise of such employees. Although the specific circumstances of the arrangement should be closely assessed, the general position to be taken is that if the employees are (a) employed by the Irish entity and (b) on the Irish entity's payroll, they should be included in the GPG reporting calculations.
That being said, it may be worth considering if the foreign entity is also subject to mandatory GPG reporting obligations in its jurisdiction and whether this category of employees has been included in any such overseas reports. The main aim here is to consider the extent of any duplication that may arise. It is also important to ensure that the position being adopted in respect of these cohort of employees does not contradict any separate position taken on the treatment of income tax, social security, etc.
The Act or the Regulations do not address specific queries that we have in respect of running the numbers. What should we do?
Consult the Irish Government's most recent guidance document: How to calculate the GPG metrics: Guidance Note and its FAQ document (last updated on 14 October 2022): GPG Reporting: Your questions answered (employers). We are assisting clients on the interpretation of these documents but where there continues to be a lack of clarity, the most prudent course of action on the grey areas is to:
- Adopt a position which has a clear, understandable and arguable basis;
- Record that rationale / basis in an accessible manner;
- Ensure consistency is applied with the approach being adopted; and
- Pick up on any distortions in the figures caused by a particular position being taken, and ensure they are explained in the statement accompanying the report.
Keep an eye out for our next insight as part of this GPG Reporting Countdown Series which will be published in the coming days.
Please get in touch with your usual Matheson contact should you require further information in relation to the material referred to in this update. Visit our Employment, Pensions and Benefits page to stay up to date with the latest updates, articles and briefing notes.