Tower Hamlets Council urged to audit gender pay gap

Tower Hamlets Council

Tower Hamlets Council. Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

The People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets have submitted a gender pay gap motion, requesting a full audit of the council’s equal pay.

The report proposed by Councillor Rabina Khan and Councillor Abdul Asad on March 21, asked the council, as a large public-sector employer, to carry out an investigation into all council wages, to find out the gender pay gap.

Following this, it was suggested that the council should deliver an equality analysis so that an emphasis can be placed on equal pay. The council agreed that it should “carry out an immediate gender pay gap audit.”

In a previous report on gender pay in January, the council commented that “there should be an immediate gender pay gap audit of the council.”

Given that two months have passed and the council have still not provided any update on this issue, it would appear that they are no closer to publishing the figures.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The council audits its pay structures and regularly reviews pay.

“We undertake a number of other activities and have gone further than the legislation requires in comparing pay for other protected characteristics such as sexuality, ethnicity and disability.”

‘Unlimited fine’

As a large public-sector employer and under mandatory gender pay gap reporting, the council has to publish their pay gap by March 31.

If an organisation breaches this deadline, it is not entirely known what will happen. Currently, there are thousands of firms who have yet to report their pay.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “We have the power to take enforcement action against any employer who does not comply with their reporting duties.

“We will first carry out an investigation to confirm whether you are breaching the regulations. If you are, we will seek a court order requiring you to remedy the breach. Failing to comply with the court order is an offence, punishable with an unlimited fine.”

There are still a number of days before the deadline, but once the data is published it can be found on the council’s website and through the gender pay gap reporting service.

At this point Lewisham, Hackney and Croydon council have all reported their gender pay gap, with both Lewisham and Hackney reporting that they actually pay women more than men.

The figures are released as both a mean pay and a median pay. The mean pay is the average wage and the median pay is the middle wage which is used to avoid low or high extremes in pay altering the result.

As previously reported, Lewisham Council has a -10.9% mean pay and a -15.9% median pay, a negative figure showing that the council paid women more than men.

Hackney who are also paying women more than men, reported a -2.8% mean pay and a -8% median pay.

Croydon council follow the more common trend of men earning more, reporting a mean pay of 1.6% and a median pay of 2.4%.

Although the Tower Hamlets council have not yet reported their own gender pay gap data, the borough-wide statistics put Tower Hamlets in the top 10 for areas with the highest gap.

This puts them with the second highest gap of any London borough, only beaten by the City of London, which ranks fourth in the UK.

Both Tower Hamlets and the City of London house major financial districts, which in the survey by the Office for National Statistics was found to be an area of work that has the highest gap in pay between men and women.

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