Rachel Reeves rather seems to have forgotten that she’s one of the lawmakers who made the law that is being obeyed here:
The chair of the Commons business select committee has accused top City law firm Slaughter & May of masking the true extent of its gender pay gap with “bogus” data.
Rachel Reeves said the law firm’s decision not to voluntarily publish the data of its partners – who are the most well paid and senior members of the firm – meant that its reported pay gap was “meaningless”.
The law specifically states that partners’ incomes are not to be reported as part of that pay gap. For the partners are the owners of the organisation – just like shareholders in a company. How much they get depends upon how much was made by the organisation, not something which is either pay nor determined by gender.
Fortunately, the lawyers do actually have the nous to point this out:
In evidence to the select committee on Tuesday, Louise Meikle, director of human resources at Slaughter & May, said the firm had not published partners’ pay as it was not part of the statutory duty and it was unclear how it should be calculated to ensure fair comparison with similar firms.
She said: “We’re not trying to hide the statistics about gender balance at the top.” Meikle added that law firm would happily publish data if it had clear guidance on how to do so.
But Reeves suggested Slaughter & May was not revealing the true proportion of women at the top of its organisation and had published “bogus numbers”.
“What is being masked is the true gender pay gap,” Reeves said
But there’s a certain problem here. If organisations were to publish proper and useful information about the gender pay gap then absolutely none of them would have done it in the manner that the law requires. For the law insists upon a comparison of all employees, across the organisation, mixing part and full time workers together. We’ve good authority, Sir Micheal Scholar no less of the Statistics Authority, that this is a misleading number which should not be used. We must, at minimum, disaggregate part and full timers.
But the law insists, you know?
Equally, publishing the raw numbers without adjusting for jobs done is valueless. But that’s what the law requires.
Which brings us to an interesting imp arse. An organisation is being criticised for not adjusting the law in order to report usefully on the gender pay gap. But useful reporting on the gender pay gap would require wholesale ignoring of said law. Pretty good imp arse that, isn’t it?