07 November 2018

Transparency call over pay gaps

Transparency is key to meaningful pay gap reporting, says UK law society.

Data about disability, ethnicity and sexuality as well as gender will help law firms develop comprehensive equality action plans, the Law Society of England and Wales said as it published forward-looking recommendations for pay gap reporting in the legal sector.

Ahead of the curve

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said ‘law firms can get ahead of the curve by assessing and tackling the range of pay gaps that may exist in their organisation’’ adding ‘inequalities can be compounded by the intersection of protected characteristics like gender and ethnicity, so identifying these dynamics will help firms to create far more effective and sustainable equality action plans.’ She explained, ‘we have worked with the profession to develop a common set of standards that provide the level of transparency expected by firms’ clients, people and the public.’

Partner pay

The Law Society supports the inclusion of partner pay alongside employee pay data in gender pay gap reporting to give solicitor firms a useful benchmark and enable an evidence-based action plan to tackle inequalities.Partner pay is structured differently from salaries, so alongside best practice guidance the Law Society is recommending firms distinguish between equity and non-equity partners, publish a full time equivalent (FTE) total compensation gap based on a full financial year, report any equivalent partner bonus scheme that can be compared with the employee bonus scheme, and, calculate based on the same weekly working hours for partners as for employees. Ms Blacklaws noted, ‘we will continue to work with government and other professional and business services so that approaches to partner pay are comparable across firms and industries.’