UK has the fourth largest pay gap in Europe
The UK has the fourth largest pay gap in Europe, with women paid on average 20 per cent less per hour than men.
Dawn Butler, the shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, has asked an urgent question about the gender pay gap.
Thursday was the final deadline for private sector firms with 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gaps. Last year, new requirements came into force, and organisations are now legally required to publish their gender pay gap.
Companies have to provide information on the percentage gap between the mean and median hourly wages for men and women, as well as on bonuses and the positions held by men and women in the organisation’s pay structure.
Speaking for the government, Victoria Atkins, the Minister for Women, said that progress was being made.
"For the first time in this country's history, the boards of large employers have had to have conversations about how they treat their female staff," Ms Atkins said.
She said that the government had a plan to tackle the pay gap.
"Reporting is just the start, it's crucial that all employers use this data to identify the barriers women face and take action to break down those barriers," Ms Atkins added.
However, responding to the government's statement, Ms Butler said that the pay gap was actually getting bigger and that the government needed to do more, both to address the pay gap and to tackle the pay gap that exists within government employment.
She called on the government to address the issue, by ensuring companies have action plans to tackle their pay gaps and sanctioning those who do not comply.