New rules on gender pay gap reporting, aim to encourage equal pay in the workplace, but there are still question marks over how effective they will be.
In broad terms, the legislation which came into force on 6 April, will require employers with 250 or more members of staff to publish online the average salary and bonus figures for men and women within their organisation.
Currently in the south west, there are 776 companies with a turnover of more than £36m that meet the criteria, with the largest concentrations of organisations in the Avon and Wiltshire areas.
Liz Perry, RSM HR director for Bristol, said: ‘The positive challenge of these new rules is to raise awareness of the gender pay gap in the workplace with a view to ensuring that men and women are equally recognised for their contribution to the business.
‘However, while the legislation should, in theory, improve business transparency and gender equality, there are currently no formal penalties for non-compliance or for publishing inaccurate information.