Equal pay audits: how hard can it be?

Equal pay audits. How difficult can they be? Well, if you have read the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s guide to the process, you may well come to the conclusion that they are both enormously difficult and exceptionally time consuming.

But with the threat of compulsion (on The Times website) hanging over their heads, HR departments do now need to show willing by auditing pay within their own organisations for signs of sex discrimination, and then doing something about their findings.

By using XpertHR JobPricing, participants in CELRE salary surveys can already see exactly what sort of pay differential exists in their organisation at any job level and within any job function. They can also see how this pay gap relates to industry norms.

Knowing what the pay gap is does not tell you why it exists, still less sort the problem out for you. But it is an important – an essential – first step.

And it is, of course, not yet entirely clear what will satisfy ministers sufficiently to dissuade them from introducing new regulations. In any event the Equalities Bill remains a long way from becoming law.

But the choice facing employers is now becoming clear: audit pay your way now, or by 2013 you will be doing it the hard way, the government way, and facing the threat of criminal charges if you fail to comply.

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