A group of politicians are calling for statutory gender pay gap reporting in Jersey 'as a matter of urgency.'
A follow-up report from the Gender Pay Gap Review Panel shows that since its last report, the gap has actually widened.
In 2019, women in the government earned an average of 18.3% less than men. It increased to 24.3% the following year.
A Gender Pay Gap is a measure of the difference between men's and women's average earnings across an organisation or the labour market.
It is not a measure of the difference in pay between males and females doing the same job.
The review panel wants the government to talk to businesses to determine the right threshold for mandatory reporting of their gender pay gaps, and what level of support they might need.
"In the previous report we didn't recommend that legislation, but we wanted to see if a cultural shift would happen - if, for example, more companies voluntarily reported their gender pay gap.
That hasn't happened in Jersey. There have been only a small number of companies that have voluntarily published their gender pay gap statistics." - Deputy Louise Doublet, Gender Pay Gap Review Panel Chair.
The panel published its first report in 2019, in which it highlighted gender stereotyping from school age and unconscious bias in the workplace, including the assumption that young women will have children.
Deputy Doublet says many of those issues still exist today and the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the pay gap, which has disproportionately impacted women in the home and workplace.
The government has introduced 'Flex Positive' to build on the culture shift to different ways of working during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The panel wants that to continue - and has recommended flexible working practices that are inclusive for all, including those who do not work in normal '9-5' hours.
"The Government should also look at mitigating any risks to flexible working including the creation of a two-tier system where those who are based in the office are not afforded more opportunities than those who are based at home.
Although part-time work is a good enabler for women in the workplace, particularly after children, the Panel has found that it can “trap” them in roles, meaning less pay and progression.
Through its Flex Positive initiative, the Panel has recommended that the Government should work towards de-stigmatising part-time working within the public sector and create a culture where men, and fathers/male caregivers in particular, feel comfortable, and will not be penalised, for asking to reduce their hours."
The 2019 report found that the cost of childcare was a factor in stopping parents, mostly women, from returning to work.
The panel is recommending that the government commission an independent review of childcare and that it should include accessibility, flexibility, quality, and affordability.
"The Panel has found that there are a number of challenges faced by women in Jersey who want to achieve a successful and fulfilling career and contribute to the economic well-being of their families.
Many women across the spectrum of occupations consider that the high cost of childcare often prevents them from achieving their family objectives."
A political lead for diversity, equality and inclusion has also been recommended.
Deputy Doublet says it would allow a politician to champion these important causes.
"What our evidence showed us was that it was really important that there is somebody politically who has ownership of this area of work and is leading on diversity, equality and inclusion.
That is something that will be really important for the next government to address."