Gender pay gap reporting enforcement postponed

February 24, 2021

Employers will have 6 months longer than usual – until 5 October 2021 - to comply with their 2020/2021 gender pay gap reporting obligations which, in contrast to the 2019/2021 reporting period, have not been suspended.


The 2017 Gender Pay Gap Regulations require employers with 250 or more employees to file gender pay gap reports. Private sector employers are required to publish their reports each year by 4 April with those public sector bodies that are covered by the regulations being required to report by 30 March. In March 2020 this obligation was suspended in respect of 2019/2020 reporting period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Enforcement postponed in respect of 2020/2021

The obligation to comply with the applicable gender pay gap reporting obligation in respect of the 2020/21 reporting year has not been suspended. However, the Equality & Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) formally announced on 23 February 2021 that, in light of the ongoing effects of COVID-19 pandemic, enforcement action for failure to comply with the applicable obligations will be deferred until 5 October 2021. Employers will face no enforcement action if they make their reports by that date. In announcing this move, EHRC Chair Baroness Kishwer Falkner acknowledged that businesses are still facing challenges saying that “[s]tarting our legal process in October strikes the right balance between supporting businesses and enforcing these important regulations.”

The EHRC has nonetheless encouraged employers to comply with their obligations in respect of 2020/2021 on time if they are able to do so and before October where possible and, in making their reports, to demonstrate the steps that they are taking to reduce long-term pay gaps through detailed action plans. The EHRC’s announcement also:

  • indicates that it will begin enforcement of employers’ obligations in respect of 2020/2021 after this six month non-enforcement period, contacting employers that have not submitted their data: and
  • reminds employers that the EHRC has the power to investigate employers that fail to comply with their gender pay gap reporting obligations and that enforcement can lead to unlimited fines.

Further guidance

Employers preparing their gender pay gap reports should be aware of and bear in mind the Government’s further guidance which it published on 14 December 2020 and which covers a range of issues that employers may face when compiling and publishing gender pay gap reports including the treatment of furlough pay.

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