Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have decided to suspend enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines for this reporting year (2019/20).

Since 2017, employers with over 250 employees have been required to submit gender pay gap figures every year in a bid to reduce the average difference in pay between men and women.

In a joint statement, Minister for Women & Equalities, Liz Truss, and EHRC Chair, David Isaac, said:

“We recognise that employers across the country are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure at this time. Because of this we feel it is only right to suspend enforcement of gender pay gap reporting this year.”

The deadline for public sector bodies reporting gender pay gap data was due to be 30 March, with private companies due on 4 April. More than 3000 employers have already reported their data via the gov.uk website this year (26% of expected reporters).

Charles Cotton, senior reward advisor at the CIPD, commented:

"The Government’s decision to relax this year’s gender pay gap reporting deadline is testimony to the incredible and unprecedented pressure that organisations, and the HR profession in particular, are under. Keeping our workforces safe and paid, as well as supporting new working practices to help businesses survive, must remain the priority throughout this crisis."

"Given the reporting data is based on a snapshot date in April last year, most employers will already have the data already, and most of their narrative too. It should just be a question of delaying their reporting to when the current crisis has passed."

"Longer term, we urge companies to continue to honour their reporting commitments. The Coronavirus stands to have a disproportionate impact on women in the labour market, because of the high proportion of women working in retail and hospitality. This makes it more important than ever that we don’t take our eye off the ball and risk losing momentum in our efforts to close the gender pay gap."