Tribunals given power to order equal pay audits

Implementation date: 1 October 2014

Employment tribunals are required to order an equal pay audit where the employer has breached the equal pay provisions under the Equality Act 2010, except in prescribed circumstances.

Key details

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 prescribes that tribunals must order a respondent to conduct an equal pay audit where there has been an equal pay breach in relation to a complaint presented on or after 1 October 2014. The draft Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014 set out the detail of this requirement.

The exceptions are that:

  • the respondent has completed an audit in the previous three years that meets the requirements of the Regulations;
  • it is clear whether or not any action is required to avoid equal pay breaches occurring or continuing;
  • the employer's breach gives the tribunal no reason to think that there may be other breaches; and
  • the disadvantages of an audit would outweigh its benefits.

Tribunals must not order an equal pay audit in relation to "existing micro-businesses" and "new businesses" (as defined in the Regulations) for a prescribed period.

The Regulations specify the information that the tribunal's order must contain (including the time period for carrying out the audit) and the required contents of an equal pay audit. They also contain provision about publication of the equal pay audit.

The tribunal will determine whether or not an audit complies with the Regulations. If the tribunal considers that the audit is not compliant, it will arrange a hearing to consider the issue further. The tribunal can order non-compliant employers to pay a penalty to the Secretary of State.