XpertHR has just published a survey of employers on equal pay, which looks at the extent to which employers are using equal pay audits or reviews.
It finds that almost one in three (32%) private sector firms have carried out a review or are in the process of doing so.
While this is up on the 24% found by a similar survey we carried out in 2008, it is much lower than the equivalent figure of 77% for the public sector, where harmonised pay and grading structures, sector-based equal pay review initiatives and the public sector equality duty have clearly had a big impact.
The findings prompt the TUC’s Sally Brett to argue that the voluntary approach to equal pay audits isn’t working and that it is time that government compelled employers to do them.
Only a very small minority of employers are likely to be affected by the forthcoming requirement on employment tribunals to order employers that have been found to have breached equal pay law to carry out an equal pay audit in certain circumstances, which the Government has indicated will come into force in October 2014 (see the XpertHR employment law manual for more information).
However it may be that the new requirement will lead to a renewed focus on this long-running issue, especially with the regulations likely to set out minimum requirements for the content and form of equal pay audits.
For those employers interested to take another look at how equal pay audits can help them to check whether they are providing equal pay for equal work, a good place to start is the XpertHR guide, How to carry out an equal pay audit. This is written by equal pay expert Sheila Wild, one of the key people behind the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Equal pay audit toolkit.
Also look out for publication of the latest official statistics on the gender pay gap tomorrow (Thursday 12 December 2013) by the Office for National Statistics.