Rachel Reeves, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee Chair, wrote the Financial Review Committee earlier this month about the FRC’s proposed revisions to the UK Corporate Governance Code.
She was disappointed the tweaks for the remuneration section did not address the gender pay gap.
“Nearly 50 years since the Equal Pay Act, it’s already clear from the company data published so far that British businesses have a long way to go to close the gender pay gap,” Reeves said, while alluding to the new requirement that companies must publish their gender pay gap statistics at the end of their current fiscal years.
The UK Corporate Governance Code is meant to hold companies with premium listings on the London Stock Exchange accountable to their shareholders by ensuring ethical internal company practices, so Reeves does not think publishing gender pay gap reports are enough to tackle this issue.
“A public commitment and associated actions should be an important element of good corporate governance and included in the revised Code,” she wrote. “It’s disappointing then that the FRC’s proposed revision to the Corporate Governance Code has literally nothing to say on the gender pay gap.”
All 12 times the proposed revision mentioned gender was to discuss gender balance or diversity rather than pay parity.
Peter Timberlake, head of communications at FRC, thanked Reeves for the letter but would not disclose whether her propositions would be included, since he could not comment on individual responses to the code. The FRC is taking suggestions for it until Wednesday and is planning to publish the updated code this summer.