WOMEN were paid a staggering 60 percent less than men in bonus pay at Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) last year.

But despite the difference between men's and women’s bonus pay, WBC’s pay gap of 14.7 percent is lower than the national average.

Louise Timlin, the Co-Lead of the Reading Branch of the Women's Equality Party, said: “The bonus gap is something that has been seen widely in the gender pay gap reports of companies and institutions.

“Given there are similar numbers of men and women receiving bonuses (at WBC), and overall more women in the top pay quartile, I would urge Wokingham Borough Council to do a thorough audit of their bonus payment practices in the same way they carry out pay and benefit audits.

“I also note their report does refer to any concrete actions they plan to undertake to either understand the root causes of these differences, or to address them.

“This is a missed opportunity.”

However Graham Ebers, Director of Corporate Services and Deputy Chief Executive of WBC, said: “Our gender pay gap is 14.71 percent, which is lower than the national average (17.4 percent).

“This is mainly due to a significantly higher proportion of females (49 percent) working part-time across the organisation compared to males (18 percent).

“We have clear policy for paying employees equally for the same or equivalent work. We carry out regular pay and benefit audits and also evaluate job roles and pay grades to ensure a fair structure.

“This includes bonuses, which we also monitor to ensure equality in their application. We’re confident therefore that our gender pay gap does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work.

“Our gender disparity is due to the roles and the salaries these roles attract.”

The average bonus pay at neighbouring authority Bracknell Forest Council is more than 40 percent lower than at Wokingham Borough Council.

The data assessed the pay of staff on permanent and fixed term contracts, casual workers who received pay during the reporting period, and staff at Foundry College on permanent and fixed term contracts.

WBC’s workforce is currently made up of 74 percent women and 26 percent men.