On this page you will find information on the gender pay gap in Wales. Some aspects of both law and policy differ in Wales as compared to England and Scotland, and organisations operating in Wales will need to be aware of the differences.


Chwarae Teg, as part of its Agile Nation 2 project publishes a factsheet on the gender pay gap in Wales. Agile Nation 2 is a European Social Fund and Welsh Government funded programme to help improve the position of women in the workforce across the nine priority sectors in Wales.

You can read about Agile Nation 2 here

You can read the factsheet here

The factsheet notes that while whilst Wales has a lower GPG for full-time workers than England which was recorded in the same report as 10 per cent, it is higher than Scotland (7.3 per cent) and Northern Ireland has managed to eliminate its gender pay entirely at -1.4 percent. Chwarae Teg  says this shows there is still work to be done and particularly when looking at the Gender Pay Gap for all employees (full and part-time workers), which in Wales is 14.6 per cent.

 The Public Sector Equality Duty

 The general duty

Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 provides for the general public sector equality duty (the equality duty). The duty requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups; and
  • Foster good relations between people from different groups.

The general duty covers all the protected characteristics including sex, and in principle therefore covers equal pay between women and men. The general duty applies to public bodies listed in Schedule 19 of the Equality Act 2010 (e.g. schools, further and higher education bodies, local authorities, police, fire and transport authorities, and government departments) and to public, private, or voluntary organisations carrying out public functions, including acting on behalf of a public authority. It applies across the whole of Britain.

The Wales specific duties

The general duty is underpinned by a number of specific duties, set out in secondary legislation. The duties set out specific requirements to help public authorities meet the aims of the general duty. Most public bodies subject to the general duty are also subject to the specific duties. While the general duty applies to England, Scotland and Wales, the specific duties are devolved to the Scottish and Welsh Assembly Governments, and this results in differences across the three nations in the obligations on public bodies in respect of equal pay.

In particular, public bodies in Wales must consider pay gaps across all of the protected groups and not just between women and men.

In Wales the specific duties were created by The Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011 . Moreover, in addition to being bound by the Equality Act 2010, equality is enshrined within the Welsh Government’s founding legislation, the Government of Wales Acts 1998 and 2006.  Equality and inclusion are reflected within its guiding principles and, together with sustainability and wellbeing, are intended to underpin all it does.

Public sector bodies in Wales are required to have due regard to the need to have objectives that address the causes of any pay difference between employees who are from a protected group, and those who are not; if it appears reasonably likely that the reason for the difference is related to the fact that those employees share a protected characteristic, e.g. they are women, or from a minority ethnic group, an action plan is also required.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance on the public sector equality duty in Wales adds that, in respect of gender, a public body must publish:

  • an equality objective in relation to addressing any gender pay difference identified, or reasons why it has not done so;
  • an action plan setting out any policy it has on the need to address the causes of any gender pay difference;
  • any gender pay equality objective it has produced (including any revisions); and,
  • a statement about the steps it has taken or intends to take to fulfil this objective and how long it expects to take to achieve the objective. Where the public body has identified a gender pay difference amongst its staff, but has not published an equality objective to address the causes of that pay difference, the action plan must set out the reasons for not doing so.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced a suite of Technical Guidance to explain the general and specific duties and provide practical approaches to complying with the Duty. The Commission states that the guidance provides an authoritative, comprehensive and technical guide to the detail of the law.

You can find the Technical Guidance on the Public Sector Equality Duty in Wales here

Monitoring of the equality duty is carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission Wales. Initially the Commission in Wales has concentrated on four key sectors – local government, health, fire and rescue and universities – focusing on one aspect of the duties in each, and the Commission selected the university sector for its monitoring of compliance with the specific duty to address gender pay differences.

In its report, the Commission found that the general equality duty and the Welsh Specific Duties have been helpful in getting university leaders to place a greater emphasis on equality issues. Furthermore, their evidence suggests that universities are finding the duty a useful tool rand that it has enabled separate initiatives to be brought together into an action plan and built upon to increase momentum.

The Welsh Government’s strategy

The Welsh Government’s strategy in respect of pay gaps is set out in its Strategic Equality Plan 2012-16. The second of the Plan’s eight equality objectives commits the Government to:

“Work with partners to identify and address the causes of the gender, ethnicity and disability pay and employment differences.”

Under this general objective, action area thirteen also commits the Government to reviewing industrial sectors to identify areas where there may be particular potential to move women into higher paid employment and to working with appropriate anchor companies on sharing effective practice. A European funded project Women Adding Value to the Economy in Wales (WAVE) complements this action area.

The Welsh Government produces an annual equality reportwhich, uniquely in the UK, outlines pay differences and employment rates for gender, ethnicity and disability.


Last updated 31st October 2016