Does the Sun Always Shine on TV? BBC’s Annual Report Reveals Gender Pay Gap
The BBC yesterday (19th July 2017) published its Annual Report and Accounts, which made for some interesting reading; not least because of the gender pay gap it revealed. But with the gender pay gap reporting regulations now in force, the BBC might not be the only large employer facing scrutiny in relation to their gender pay gap.
They say watching too much TV gives you square eyes. Well, yesterday, the media’s eyes were squarely on the BBC’s Annual Report, and in particular the Annex to that report, which listed the salary figures for those earning more than £150,000 at the BBC.
The annexed report revealed that Chris Evans was the highest paid BBC employee, receiving the modest sum of £2.2 to £2.5m in the financial year 2016/2017. Perhaps more interestingly however was the fact that this was over four times the amount earned by the highest paid female employee, Claudia Winkleman, who earned £450,000 to £500,000 in the same year.
Gary Lineker was paid between £1.75 and £1.8m and Graham Norton earned between £850,000 and £900,000. In fact, the top seven earners were male and only a third of those who earned over £150,000 were female. The full report can be read here.
Of course, gender pay inequality is not new and it’s certainly not unique to the BBC. The law has been trying to deal with inequality in pay between the sexes since 1970, with the Equal Pay Act. Gender pay gap reporting is the Government’s latest attempt to deal with inequality in pay.
The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 apply to employers in the private and voluntary sector with a headcount of 250 or more (with a separate but very similar regime applying to employers in the public sector). The first reports are to be published before 4th April 2018, based on data to 5th April 2017, and so relevant employers should already be preparing their reports. For a brief summary of the information that should be reported on, see our recent update here.
The Regulations do give employers the option to include a narrative with their report to explain the reasons for the results and give details about actions that are being taken to reduce or eliminate the gender pay gap. The narrative might provide employers with an opportunity to attempt to mitigate any reputational damage that the report might cause. Indeed, Tony Hall, the BBC’s Director-General, has made a commitment to close the gender pay gap at the BBC by 2020 since the BBC’s gender pay gap was revealed.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that men are paid more than women at the BBC and so contrary to what A-ha might have us believe, perhaps the sun doesn’t always shine on TV; not for gender pay equality at least.
This article was written by Jamie Meechan, Trainee Solicitor
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