U.K. to Investigate Companies That Didn't Report Gender Pay Gaps

(Bloomberg) -- As early as June, the U.K. will start investigating firms that failed to report their gender pay gap, the government’s Equality and Human Rights Commission wrote in a letter to parliament.

Around 1,500 companies failed to comply with the new law, which requires employers with 250 or more staff to publicly report the difference between what they pay their male and female employees on average.

Firms that missed the April 4 deadline were contacted by the commission, an effort that “elicited a significant response with over 400 employers so far either reporting their data or contacting us to confirm that they are not caught by the regulations,” the department’s Chief Executive Rebecca Hilsenrath told parliament. “The next stage for private sector employers will be an investigation.”

The probes will establish whether the firms have acted unlawfully and, if so, they will be issued with a notice to comply. Failing that, the EHRC will apply for a court order requiring them to report, and those found to be in violation will face unlimited and unspecified fines.

Hilsenrath declined to provide a list of non-compliant employers but said they will publish details of all employers that reach the investigation stage when it begins on their website. The Treasury Committee already requested a list of financial services firms that failed to meet the deadline, after chairwoman Nicky Morgan said she might summon bank executives to explain their wider-than-average pay gaps.

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