Women in Jersey could be earning much lower salaries than their male colleagues – but there’s no way of finding out for sure.
The independent States Statistics Unit say they currently can't access the necessary data. That won't be the case for much longer, however, with a new law coming into force.
Pay inequality between male and female BBC employees has caused outcry in the media with the corporation’s China Editor resigning, many high-profile BBC female presenters demanding a review of salaries, and well-known male personalities accepting lower wages as a result.
But it’s not just the BBC’s treatment of female employees being scrutinised. The hot topic has highlighted the pay gap across many industries after the UK Government brought in a new law which forces organisations who employ over 250 people to share their gender pay gap data.
In the last week, Guernsey’s 2017 electronic census report also highlighted that a larger number of men were earning between £30,000 and £120,000 than women. But we can’t find out similar details in Jersey because the island’s Statistics Unit cannot access the information.
But that will soon change.
Pictured: Former BBC China Editor, Carrie Gracie, is campaigning for equal pay.
The States have approved a new law brought forward by the Chief Minister, which will enable the government’s Statistics Unit to become independent from the States of Jersey so it can access information from all government departments as well as the private sector. The law also imposes penalties for any information withheld.
The move will help Jersey to catch up to Guernsey and many other international jurisdictions. It will replace the mass exercise of island-wide paper form filling - which currently limits the island's census to once a decade – with electronic surveys, so more information can be gathered on the island’s size and characteristics, as well as other issues like pay differences between men and women, which Chief Statistician, Duncan Gibaut, says they will be looking into.
The Council of Ministers recognised the “absolute importance and inviolability of impartiality and quality when it comes to official statistics." "This was considered an important step forward in terms of clarity and enhanced separation of the statistical function from government,” they previously stated.
Pictured: The States of Jersey Statistics Unit, which is based in Cyril Le Marquand House, will become independent from the Government with this new law.
The legislation is now on its way to coming into force, and is currently being overseen by the UK Privy Council. The idea of it was first suggested by in 2002 by Tim Holt, the first Director of the UK Office for National Statistics. Mr Holt, who was also first Chair of Jersey’s Statistics Users Group, recommended that "the States invite the Statistics Users Group to frame legislation”, based on the assessment that “unlike almost all countries, there is no legal framework to ensure that the professional independence of Official Statistics… is embedded in Law.”
Mr Gibaut told Express: “This new legislation will secure for the future a high quality and independent ‘Statistics Jersey’. We exist to provide a relevant, accurate and objective data service for informed decision-making across the public sector - and also for businesses and Islanders. The legislation will allow us to continue to move forwards and make improvements to the way we work, for example using data already held by the States of Jersey wherever possible. Businesses and Islanders can be reassured that any data shared with us will be kept confidential and will only be used for statistical purposes.”
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