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Exposure of gender pay gaps at UK law firms to become law

8th March 2016

Gender pay gaps to be revealed

The government is looking to change mandatory reporting requirements for businesses and this will reveal gender pay gaps at leading law firms in the UK.

The regulations, which are planned to be in place before April 2018, will include partner pay in the calculations and for firms that employ more than 250 people, this will mean highlighting any pay gaps between lawyer and legal jobs held by women and men.

After initially being announced by David Cameron in 2015 it was thought that members in limited liability partnerships would not be asked to reveal their pay, but the consultation document that was published on 12th February this year has now revealed that in fact it will be included in the law.

The new laws will require employers to publish their overall mean and median gender pay gaps and the results will be used to compare national and international figures.

Speaking to the Law Society Gazette, Karen Baxter, an employment partner at Lewis Silkin, said, “Given the historic gender inequality at the highest levels of the profession, this is likely to have a significant negative impact on the gender pay gap figures that these firms will have to supply.

“If they do indeed expand the scope of the regulations in this way, it has very significant implications for firms which do not employ their staff in a separate services company (i.e. for firms where both employees and partners/members are engaged by the LLP).”

According to recent studies there are only around 20 percent of women who are partners at the top 20 law firms, and this is something that the government is looking to address with Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, adding “tackling the gender pay gap is an absolute priority for this government”.