Employers urged to look to dads if they want to close gender pay gap

Government provides helpful tips with the latest deadline for reporting just days away

Homeworking

 

Dads are a vital part of closing the gender pay gap according to new government guidelines.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is urging bosses to look at their family friendly policies if they want to improve their gender pay gap figures. Making it easier for men to do more childcare and encouraging them to take up their parental leave allowances are key planks of the strategy.

The GEO has produced a series of posters aimed at employers ahead of the next round of gender pay gap reporting.

Firms with over 250 employees have to report next month the difference between what their male employees earn on average and the same figure for their female employees.

Last year’s statistics reveal men earning significantly more than women on average. Three out of four firms have a gender pay gap with the average coming in at around 9%.

Proposals to make things more equal include getting more men to take paternity leave and shared parental leave and supporting men to work flexibly so they can share domestic work with their partners.

The new posters highlight measures employers can take that have been shown to work. The GEO is keen to emphasis that the proposals are backed by evidence supplied by the Workplace and Gender Equality (WAGE) research programme.

The ‘what works’ posters focus on flexible working, childcare and parental leave.

Skills

The government claims flexible working “enables women to stay in roles that reflect their skills and experience and men to share caring responsibilities.” Although most businesses offer some sort of flexibility and employees have the right to ask for it around a third of workers have not taken up the option of altering their hours or conditions. Steps that companies can take that have been shown to boost flexible working include building flexibility into new roles or when trying to fill existing ones, exploring taking up flexible options such as working remotely during annual appraisals and highlighting senior staff who do work flexibly.

The government also pinpoints parental leave as a lever that can help close the gender pay gap as well as bringing benefits for men who want to have better relationships with their children. Businesses are encouraged to enhance their parental package beyond the statutory minimum.

Men are a particular focus. Firms should encourage fathers to take paternity leave and shared parental leave, and support them to take their full entitlement of leave as well as discussing flexible working options as early as possible.

The campaign also claims it’s been shown that firms that advertise help with childcare including the government’s allowance of 30 hours free childcare as well as the tax free childcare scheme help parents to get back into the workplace and work more hours.

According to the government’s ‘actions for employers’ website, “Family friendly policies such as flexible working, enhanced parental leave, and additional childcare provision, enable more equal sharing of work and childcare between men and women so that both can fulfil their potential at work. Family friendly policies are also good for business, helping to attract and retain talent and improve productivity.”





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