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Unlimited fines for theatres that fail to report gender pay gap

Large theatres are now required to publish their gender pay gap figures. Photo: Shutterstock Large theatres are now required to publish their gender pay gap figures. Photo: Shutterstock
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Theatres that do not report their gender pay gap under new government rules could face unlimited fines.

Just one arts organisation that is obliged to report has so far done so, with the deadline up at the beginning of April.

In April this year, new regulations came into force that mean the biggest employers now have to reveal the differences in salary between women and men, as part of efforts to eradicate the gender pay gap.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is the regulator responsible for the reporting scheme, has published its draft enforcement strategy setting out how it would deal with companies that do not comply.

Public, private and voluntary-sector businesses in England, Wales and Scotland with more than 250 employees must publish their gender pay gap by April 4, 2018, and annually following that.

Theatres that fall into this bracket include the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Ambassador Theatre Group, as well as bodies such as Arts Council England.

The commission’s draft enforcement document says it will encourage compliance by promoting awareness and publicising which businesses have reported, and will try to resolve non-compliance through informal resolution.

According to the document, there would be several steps after this if companies do not report their data, the last of which is a ‘level five’ fine – meaning no maximum limit would be imposed on the amount that could be handed down.

So far, only 441 of the total 7,850 companies that are required to comply have submitted data, with little over three months until the deadline.

In the arts and entertainment sector, London dance venue Sadler’s Wells is the only major arts organisation to have reported.

Its data revealed that the hourly rate of its female employees is 1.6% lower than male employees, when taking the mean average.

As part of the reporting, companies also have to state the proportion of men and women in each quartile of their payroll.

At Sadler’s Wells, 62% of its top quartile is male, gradually shifting to a 75/25 split in favour of women in the lowest quartile.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is one of several government departments to have submitted its own gender pay gap data.

Its top pay quartile comprises 48% men and 52% women, moving to 51/49 in favour of men in the upper middle quartile, 53/47 towards women in the lower middle quartile and 55/45 in favour of women in the lower quartile.

This is among the more equally split government departments, with the transport and Brexit departments showing the most pay disparity.

DCMS’ overall average pay gap is 3% more for men, compared to 17% for the Department for Transport and 15% for the Department for Exiting the European Union.

What are new gender pay gap rules?

  • All voluntary, private and public employers with more than 250 staff must publish figures on the gender pay gap at their organisations.
  • This must be completed before April 2018, giving companies a year to publish the data.
  • The reporting will cover approximately 9,000 employers in the UK – and 15 million employees.
  • The UK is one of the first countries in the world to require gender pay gap reporting.

What will employers need to publish?

Median gender pay gap figures

This identifies the middle earner, and is the best representation of the typical gender difference. Employers will be asked to use data from a snapshot period in April to calculate this.

Mean gender pay gap figures

This takes into account the high and low earners in an organisation, and will reveal gender disparity at the highest and lowest-earning levels.

Proportion of men and women in each quartile of pay
This will show the spread of male and female earners across an organisation, helping to show where women’s progress might be stalling.

Gender pay gaps for any bonuses paid
This will seek to highlight a significant issue around bonus payments in some sectors. Employers will have to publish the proportion of men and women receiving these bonuses.

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