Remuneration for women taking on extra duties at work during the pandemic has failed to keep pace with that of their male counterparts, according to a new study into Covid’s contribution to the gender pay gap.

A global survey by the ADP Research Institute found that 76 per cent of men in the UK received a pay rise or bonus for taking on new roles and extra responsibilities to fill gaps left by Covid-related job losses. For women, the equivalent figure was 68%.

Globally, men and women were just as likely to take on additional responsibilities because of Covid job losses, with 47% of men and 46% of women saying they had done so. The UK average was far lower, with 29% of women and 27% of men reporting an increase in workload.

Jeff Phipps, managing director of ADP UK, said the gender pay gap still appears to be “ingrained” across Britain, and appears to have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“Employees have been stepping up to support their employers in the face of job cuts or restructuring of operations, yet women are not being rewarded as favourably as men for taking on additional responsibilities,” he said.

READ MORE: Gender pay gap increased in Scotland last year

The findings from ADP come hard on the heels of separate research from accountancy group PwC which show what appears to be a marginal improvement in pay disparity among those UK companies required to report gender pay gap figures.

The Government extended this year’s reporting deadline from April to October in a bid to ease the burden on hard-pressed firms. All organisations with more than 250 employees are required to submit gender pay data.

Three-quarters of companies used the extension, with 45% reporting in the last month. Six out of 10 of the companies reporting prior to the original April deadline had 20,000 or more employees, suggesting larger companies were less likely to have been impacted by resourcing challenges during the past year.

Analysis of those reporting by the original April deadline initially suggested that the average mean gender pay gap had dropped to 12.5%. However, after including those who used the extension, the average rose to 13.1%.

That was down from 14.2% in 2017/18, when reporting was first mandated. However, the decrease from the previous year was just 0.2 percentage points.

READ MORE: Shared parental leave failing to deliver as take-up tumbles

Experts also point out that women in lower-paying positions were more likely to have lost their job during the pandemic, which would effectively boost the average of those remaining in employment and create a misleading picture of the overall trend.

“While it’s positive that some progress is being made towards gender pay parity, an apparent slight decrease in the gender pay gap this year may be masking other workforce patterns that are detrimental to gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” said Anna Sanford, employment legal director at PwC.

“We know that women are more at risk than men of losing their jobs or experiencing reduced hours or pay as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. This year’s gender pay gap results should be viewed in light of the continued impact of the pandemic and businesses will need to watch carefully what patterns emerge for 2022 as they reassess their workforce amidst new market patterns and challenges.”

READ MORE: Scotland's gender pay gap as women board members paid half a million less

Nearly two-thirds of companies in the retail sector reported a lower gap for this year than last. PwC said this was likely driven by the impact of the furlough scheme which removed large numbers of employees from the calculations.

Hospitality, mining and utilities businesses, along with building societies, all saw their gender pay gaps increase in this reporting year. With women bearing the brunt of additional unpaid work such as family care during the pandemic, Mr Phipps at ADP said there could be further difficulties to come.

“I fear that some flexible working models, despite being well-intended, could create increased disparity,” he said.

“Companies may shrug their shoulders and say it’s not their job to fix societal issues, or instead, they could choose to shine a light on the issue and play a role in changing behaviours and policies to level the playing field and create a more equitable future.”