business

Can Companies Be Shamed Into Closing the Pay Gap?

The U.K.’s big, nationwide experiment for pay equality just started. It’s already creating a big mess.
Illustrator: Cari Vander Yacht

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For years, the U.K. encouraged companies to voluntarily make public their gender pay gap—the difference between what they pay men and women, on average. And for years, companies ignored the prodding, so the government made it mandatory. The new law requires companies with more than 250 U.K. employees to file pay disclosures with the government. More than 10,000 companies reported by the April deadline, revealing differences in median pay of as much as 60 percent in some extreme cases. Now it’s up to companies to decide what, if anything, to do about that. This week on the Pay Check, Suzi Ring talks to one company that reported a wide gap and assesses how that's changing the way it hires and pays women. 

Iceland also has a new pay-gap law. The country is requiring every company with more than 25 employees to submit to the government official salaries for every job. If there’s a pay gap, enterprises have to justify any discrepancies in writing. Claire Suddath reports on how the law came to be and if it's working. 

Want to hear more? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. The Pay Check is a six-episode deep dive into the big, expensive, global mystery of why, in 2018, women still earn less than men. 

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