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Gender pay gap report

West Lancashire Borough Council is required by law to publish an annual gender pay gap report.

This is our report for the snapshot date of 31 March 2017. The calculations were undertaken based on a headcount of 533 staff designated as full pay relevant employees, including employees currently seconded to BT Lancashire Services Ltd. Staff who were either on sick pay or maternity pay, and so not in receipt of full pay on 31 March 2017 have been discounted.

  • The mean gender pay gap of women's pay against men's pay for the Council shows women's mean pay is 0.35% lower than men's pay.
  • The median gender pay gap of women's pay against men's pay for the Council shows women's median pay is 0.59% lower than men's pay.
  • The Council does not operate any bonus payments within its pay structure.

Pay quartiles by gender

Band

Males

Females

Description

4             

54.5%       

45.5%        

Includes all employees whose standard hourly rate places them in the lower quartile

3

47.8%

52.2%

Includes all employees whose standard hourly rate places them above the lower quartile but at or below the median

2

50%

50%

Includes all employees whose standard hourly rate places them above the median but at or below the upper quartile

1

51.1%

48.9%

Includes all employees whose standard hourly rate places them in the upper quartile

The figures set out above have been calculated using the standard methodologies used in the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017.

What are the underlying causes of an Organisation's gender pay gap?

Under the law, men and women must receive equal pay for:

  • the same or broadly similar work;
  • work rated as equivalent under a job evaluation scheme; or
  • work of equal value.

West Lancashire Borough Council is committed to the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment for all employees, regardless of sex, race, religion or belief, age, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or disability. It has a clear policy of paying employees equally for the same or equivalent work, regardless of their sex (or any other characteristic set out above). As such, it:

  • carries out equal pay audits at periodic intervals;
  • evaluates job roles and pay grades as necessary to ensure a fair structure.

The Council is therefore confident that its gender pay gap does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work. Rather its gender pay gap is the result of the roles in which men and women work within the organisation and the salaries that these roles attract.

Across the UK economy as a whole, men are more likely than women to be in senior roles (especially very senior roles at the top of organisations), however within West Lancashire Borough Council, the two upper quartiles of senior roles are relatively evenly split between women and men. Normally, women are more likely than men to be in front-line roles at the lower end of the organisation, but for West Lancashire Borough Council, there are a higher percentage of men employed in these roles than women, at these grade levels.

Women are more likely than men to have had breaks from work that have affected their career progression, for example to bring up children. They are also more likely to work part time, and many of the jobs that are available across the UK on a part-time basis are relatively low paid.

This pattern from the UK economy as a whole is not necessarily reflected in the make-up of West Lancashire Borough Council's workforce, as indicated above.

This can be seen above in the table depicting pay quartiles by gender. This shows West Lancashire Borough Council's workforce divided into four equal-sized groups based on hourly pay rates, with Band 4 including the lowest-paid 25% of employees (the lower quartile) and Band 1 covering the highest-paid 25% (the upper quartile). In order for there to be no gender pay gap, there would need to be an equal ratio of men to women in each Band, and within the Council the two top quartiles are fairly evenly distributed in terms of gender balance.

How does West Lancashire Borough Council's gender pay gap compare with that of other organisations?

The vast majority of organisations have a gender pay gap, and we are pleased to be able to say that our gap compares favourably with that of most other organisations.

The median gender pay gap for the whole economy of both full time and part time employees (according to the April 2016 Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) figures) is 18.1% lower for women's pay, and based on just full time employees the public sector gender pay gap was a median of 11.3%. At 0.59%, West Lancashire Borough Council's median gender pay gap is, therefore, significantly lower than that for the whole economy and the public sector.

What is West Lancashire Borough Council doing to address its gender pay gap?

While the Council's gender pay gap compares favourably with that of organisations across the whole UK economy, this is not a subject about which we are complacent. However, the Council also recognises that our scope to act is limited in some areas – we have, for example, no direct control over the subjects that individuals choose to study or the career choices that they make.

To date, the steps that the Council has taken to promote gender diversity in all areas of its workforce include the following:

  • Creating an evidence base: To identify any barriers to gender equality and to inform priorities for action, in 2016 the Council reviewed its workforce and recruitment activities to understand:
    • The proportions of men and women applying for jobs and being recruited;
    • The proportions of men and women leaving the organisation and their reasons for leaving;
    • The numbers of men and women in each role and pay band;
    • The proportion of men and women who return to their original job after a period of maternity or other parental leave
    • The initial findings were published in June 2017
  • Revising our Family Friendly Policies: In August 2017, the Council's Family Friendly Policies were revised to make it clear that employees in all areas and levels of the organisation will be considered for flexible working regardless of their role and level of seniority, and that flexible working need not be limited to part-time working. We also highlighted that v-time could be used to buy additional annual leave, to help all staff with work life balance issues.
  • Supporting parents: the Council has developed an updated Paternity and Maternity Pack to support employees prior to, during and on return from maternity and other parental leave.

None of these initiatives will, of itself, remove any gender pay gap, and it may be several years before some have an impact. In the meantime, the Council is committed to reporting on an annual basis on the progress that it is making.

Any further initiatives launched throughout the year will be reported on our internet pages.