Gender pay gap at 23.3 percent for construction sector
Thousands of employers will publish their gender pay gap figures for the first time from today, helping break the glass ceiling and create a more modern workforce.
The UK is one of the first countries in the world to require gender pay gap reporting and follows the government’s commitment to introduce the requirements at the last election. This is a key part of the government’s work to eliminate the gender pay gap.
Voluntary, private and public sector employers with 250 or more employees will be required to publish their figures by April 2018. The regulations will cover approximately 9,000 employers with over 15 million employees, representing nearly half of the UK’s workforce.
The UK gender pay is already at a record low of 18.1 percent. These requirements will help employers to identify the gaps in their organisations and take action to close the gender pay gap.
Ensuring that women have the same opportunities as men to fulfil their potential in the workplace is a key part of building a country that works for everyone, as the Prime Minister made clear in her first speech outside Downing Street.
Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening said: “We have more women in work, more women-led businesses than ever before and the highest proportion of women on the boards of our biggest companies. This has helped us to narrow the gender pay gap to a record 18.1 percent – but we want to eliminate it completely.
“Helping women to reach their full potential isn’t only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense and is good for British business. I am proud that the UK is championing gender equality and now those employers that are leading the way will clearly stand out with these requirements.”
The benefits of helping women to unlock their talents are huge – eliminating work-related gender gaps could add £150 billion to our annual GDP by 2025. That is an opportunity that neither Government nor businesses can afford to ignore.
As part of the new regulations, employers will be required to:
- Publish their median gender pay gap figures
By identifying the wage of the middle earner, the median is the best representation of the 'typical' gender difference. Employers will be asked to use data from a ‘snapshot’ period in April to calculate this average.
- Publish their mean gender pay gap figures
By taking into account the full earnings distribution, the mean look at both the low and high earners in an organisation – this is particularly useful as women are often over-represented at the low earning extreme and men are over-represented at the high earning extreme.
- Publish the proportion of men & women in each quartile of the pay structure.
This data will show the spread of male and female earners across an organisation, helping to show employers where women’s progress might be stalling so they can take action to support their career development.
- Publish the gender pay gaps for any bonuses paid out during the year
As there is a significant issue around bonus payments in some sectors, employers will also have to publish the proportion of male and proportion of female employees that received a bonus during the year.
Employers will also be encouraged to publish an action plan alongside their figures, demonstrating the steps they will take to close the gender pay gap within their organisation.
The Government is working with leading employers who are exploring publishing their figures early.
The Government Equalities Office has also launched its new campaign page where employers can access resources, case studies and publish their gender pay gap figures.
The new gender pay gap mandatory reporting requirements are part of wider work the Government is doing to support women in the workplace. This includes £5 million to increase returnships, offering 30 hours of free childcare, and introducing shared parental leave and new rights to request flexible working. There is also extensive cross-Government work to get more women into the top jobs at the UK’s biggest companies and to get more girls taking STEM subjects at school.
Read the April 2017 issue of Construction Global here
Environment Agency clamps down on plastic films and wraps
Businesses in the waste and construction industries must ensure they deal with waste plastic properly to stop illegal exports, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned.
The warning comes as the Agency is increasingly aware of plastic film and wrap from the construction and demolition sector being illegally exported.
Exports are frequently being classified as ‘green list’ waste of low risk to the environment, but are often contaminated with materials such as mud, sand, bricks and wood, posing a risk to the environment and human health overseas, and undermining legitimate businesses in the UK seeking to recover such waste properly.
During the last year, the EA has intercepted shipments to prevent the illegal export of this material on numerous occasions. The Agency inspected 1,889 containers at English ports and stopped 463 being illegally exported. This, combined with regulatory intervention upstream at sites, prevented the illegal export of nearly 23,000 tonnes of waste.
Those convicted of illegally exporting waste face an unlimited fine and a two-year jail sentence. But construction firms could also face enforcement action if contaminated construction and demolition waste plastic is illegally exported.
Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, said it is seeing a marked increase in the number of highly contaminated plastic film and wrap shipments from the construction and demolition industry being stopped by officers.
“I would strongly urge businesses to observe their legal responsibility to ensure waste is processed appropriately, so we can protect human health and the environment now and for future generations. It’s not enough just to give your waste to someone else - even a registered carrier. You need to know where your waste will ultimately end up to know it’s been handled properly. We want to work constructively with those in the construction and waste sectors so they can operate compliantly, but we will not hesitate to clamp down on those who show disregard for the environment and the law.”
There are a number of simple, practical steps that businesses can take to ensure that C&D site waste is handled legally.
Construction businesses should check what’s in their waste
- Different waste types need different treatments and so must be correctly categorised to ensure it goes to a site that is authorised to handle it safely. Businesses can also check if their waste is hazardous as different rules might apply.
- If you are removing the waste yourself, you must be a registered waste carrier- registration can be carried out here. When a waste collector is transporting your site waste, you must check they have a waste carrier’s licence from the EA.
- You must also check that the end destination site any waste is taken to is permitted to accept it and has the right authorisations in place. Keep a record of any waste that leaves your site by completing a waste transfer note or a consignment note for hazardous waste which record what and how much waste you have handed over and where it is going.
Waste management industry must adhere to export controls
- Contaminated C&D waste plastic - including low-density polyethylene (LDPE) wrap and film - must be exported with prior consent from the EA as well as competent authorities in transit and destination countries.
- Those involved in the export of such waste must ensure that it meets the requirements set under the relevant export controls, such as being almost free-from contamination; the destination sites are appropriately licensed to receive and treat the waste; and waste is correctly managed once received.
The EA will continue to actively target those who export contaminated C&D plastic waste illegally, including any accredited packaging exporters who issue Packaging Waste Export Recovery Notes (PERNs) against such material in breach of their Conditions of Accreditation.
Businesses involved in the shipment of waste are required to take all necessary steps to ensure the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling.
Anyone with information regarding the illegal export of waste including C&D waste plastics can contact the EA’s Illegal Waste Exports team at: [email protected] or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website