According to latest figures, the gender pay gap is at its lowest on record.

Hundreds of UK companies are facing legal action after failing to report gender pay gap data by the extended deadline.

For the first time, companies with over 250 employees were required to publish the gap between the average amount paid to a male employee compared with the average for a female employee.

Over 10,600 employers reported the gender pay gap data with the bonus pay gap, however last month, the Equality and Human Rights Commission contacted 1,500 companies that failed to report data.

“Last month, we contacted almost 1,500 businesses to commence enforcement proceedings and as a result, the number of employers facing investigation is now under 500,” said the EHRC head, Rebecca Hilsenrath.

“Breach of these regulations is breaking the law and we’ve always been clear we will enforce with zero tolerance,” she added.

From the data collected, the Institute for Public Policy Research found that 81 percent of occupations had a pay gap. 

The companies that are refusing to release data could face a summary conviction, unlimited fine and have no choice but to publish the data under a court order.

ITN, which produces news for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 had a median gender pay gap of 18 percent and bonus gap of 50 percent. In response to the data, chief executive John Hardie announced that on bonused would be paid unless “exacting gender and diversity targets” are hit.

“We will be introducing a new set of targets which will run alongside the financial goals and will be purely based on hitting strict gender and diversity objectives,” said Hardie.

“Let me be clear, if ITN does not achieve these targets I will not receive a penny in bonus. To embed these objectives across the company, all senior management bonuses will also include exacting gender and diversity targets to help get us to where we need to be.”