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Gender Pay Gap Report 2021

About HSL

HSL has been providing customers high quality, handcrafted furniture for 54 years.  Although over this period our group has grown and developed, what has never changed are our passions for delivering comfort and enhancing lives. We are still a family-run business and we remain dedicated to providing a caring service and excellent value for money for our customers, and a supportive, inclusive and enjoyable working environment for our diverse workforce.

What Is Gender Pay Gap Reporting?

Since April 2018 all organisations with more than 250 employees have been required to publish data which reports their gender pay gap. The gender pay gap represents the difference between male and female average (both mean and median) pay across the whole business.

This government-led initiative reflects a commitment to improving transparency of pay differentials between men and women and tackling issues of gender equality.

The information in this report relates to High Seat Limited – the HSL Group’s retail subsidiary – since this is the only group company with more than 250 employees. It reflects actual data measured on 5th April 2021 (the “2021 Snapshot Date”), analysed into the following six data sets:

  1. The percentage difference in mean (average) hourly pay between male and female employees for the twelve months ending on the 2021 Snapshot Date (the “2021 Reporting Period”);
  2. The percentage difference in median (mid-point) hourly pay between men and women during the 2021 Reporting Period;
  3. The percentage difference in the mean bonus between men and women during the 2021 Reporting Period;
  4. The percentage difference in the median bonus between men and women during the 2021 Reporting Period;
  5. The percentage of men and women respectively who received a bonus during the 2021 Reporting Period; and
  6. The percentage of men and women in each hourly rate pay quartile, split evenly across the workforce, reported by lower, lower middle, upper middle, and upper bands.

We will continue to measure and publish our Gender Pay figures each year but, equally as important, we will continue to identify the further actions we can take to increase diversity and inclusivity across the business.  This will include seeking regular feedback from our colleagues.

 HSL’s Gender Pay Data
Gender Pay Gap 2021
Overview of Approach

We collected our gender pay gap data on 5th April 2021, at which date our workforce consisted of 211 women and 108 men.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic’s continued impact on the UK during 2021, gender pay gap reporting requirements for the year under review were for only employees who received full pay on the 2021 Snapshot Date to be included in the reported data. Due to shortfalls in HSL’s business activity in comparison with normal levels we continued to utilise the government furlough scheme throughout the pandemic, and on 5th April 2021 87 colleagues remained on full or partial furlough and hence on reduced pay.  These colleagues have therefore been excluded from the data as required by the legislation.

As a consequence we consider that our gender pay gap data does not wholly reflect the underlying picture on staff pay for the year under review, although a large reduction in the number of furloughed colleagues mean that it is more representative than in the previous year.

Review of Gender Pay Data

Although HSL’s gender pay gap data for the 2021 Reporting Period continue to report a mean and median pay gap, there is a narrowing of the gap in comparison with the year ending 5th April 2019 which the directors consider reflects the most representative previous period. The median gap in the 2021 Reporting Period reduced to 3.2%, down from 8.9% in 2019. Furthermore, the existence of a reported gender pay gap does not necessarily mean that there is unequal pay for equivalent roles, as there are a number of reasons why organisations’ reports might show a gender pay gap.

We have a large proportion of female colleagues working within our stores and home visits operations as Comfort Specialists, often working on a part time basis, which gives a larger headcount in this area of the business.  At the Snapshot Date, 152 colleagues (48% of HSL’s total workforce) worked as Comfort Specialists; and of these 120 (79%) were female.

Furthermore, in line with other retailers, these roles also often attract lower rates of pay in comparison with other areas of our business. However, it is in this area in particular where rates of pay have increased by a faster rate in comparison with other parts of the business.  This theme has continued after the 2021 Snapshot Date meaning that these rates of pay now sit above the UK National Living Wage.  This should have a positive impact on the future pay gap.

In many organisations women are under-represented in senior roles where remuneration is higher. At the 2021 Snapshot Date, HSL had only a 33% representation of women at senior management and board level, reflected in the mean gender pay gap being largely concentrated in the upper pay quartile.

HSL encourages flexible working across all levels and all roles, enabling colleagues to balance their career with their family and personal commitments. We believe this will continue to have a positive impact on the gender pay gap by reducing the need for people to take career breaks when starting a family or when they have primary childcare responsibilities. Excluding our Retail colleagues, who already work on a part time model, 16 out of 53 (30%) of female colleagues now work flexibly.

Review of Bonus Pay Data

95.3% of women and 94.4% of men were paid a bonus in the Relevant Pay Period.

In the 2021 Reporting Period our general colleague bonus scheme, which was paid at Christmas, was available to all qualifying colleagues in employment at the date of payment. This resulted in an equal median bonus for both women and men (2020: 10.5% bonus gap).  A small number of variations meant a 14.7% reported gap in the mean reported figure (2020: 38.7%).

Director Statement

We are proud of HSL’s passion for equality and diversity across the organisation.

The basis of Gender Pay Gap reporting can imply a differential in pay between men and women, and although this is due to differences in the relative mix of men and woman at different levels of the organisation, this in itself remains an area of ongoing improvement for HSL, as it does for all employers.

Since the period covered by this report, we have also taken particular steps to increase the pay of the lowest paid colleagues.

We will continue to focus on development opportunities across the business to allow all colleagues to progress wherever possible and fulfil their potential.

I confirm that the information within this report is accurate.


William Burrows, Chairman

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