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Caerphilly Council’s gender pay gap ‘reflective of societal level’

Caerphilly County Borough Council (Pic: LDRS)

A 5.6% GENDER pay gap in Caerphilly Council is “reflective” of societal trends rather than the authority paying people differently, cabinet members have heard.

The latest figures for Caerphilly show male workers are paid an average (mean) hourly wage of £14.93, and female staff are paid an average £14.10.

More than 70% of the council’s workforce, excluding school staff, is female, a new report shows.

Lynne Donovan, the council’s head of people services, told a cabinet meeting “our gender pay gap does not stem from us paying male and female workers differently”, however.

In the report, Ms Donovan said the council’s own pay gap was instead “reflective of the causes of gender pay gap at a societal level”.

This is because jobs with caring responsibilities, and part-time roles, “continue to be shared or occupied unequally and that it is women who are predominantly drawn to part-time jobs”.

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Such work “can often be jobs that are below the employees’ skill levels, and offer fewer progression opportunities”, Ms Donovan said in her report.

For Caerphilly Council, “it remains the case that the vast majority of advertised part-time posts, and thus part-time workers, fall into the lower quartile of pay – for example our cleaning and catering assistant posts”, she added.

At the meeting, council leader Sean Morgan noted Birmingham City Council had recently issued a Section 114 notice “basically declaring bankruptcy”, following expensive claims over equal pay.

He asked how relevant that council’s situation was to Caerphilly.

Ms Donovan said some female workers in Birmingham Council alleged they had been “excluded from bonus payments” and that the ensuing multi-million pound settlements were the “central reason” for Birmingham issuing the Section 114 notice.

The city’s situation meant Caerphilly Council was “watching what is happening nationally” because “other pay claims could impact on us and any council”.

But she agreed with Cllr Morgan that the situation in Caerphilly was currently “quite comfortable”.