A guide to help employers reduce their exposure to equal pay claims when they evaluate jobs has been launched by the employment relations service Acas.
The free Job Evaluation booklet, published Monday, explains the benefits and risks of undertaking job evaluation - the process whereby jobs are scrutinised without prejudice or discrimination, usually to save business costs.
It follows news that claims for equal pay overtook those for unfair dismissal for the first time as the most popular grounds for tribunal claims passed to Acas for conciliation. Figures in the 2008 Acas annual report revealed the number of equal pay claims received in 2007-08 more than doubled to reach 58,513 - up from 27,497 the previous year. Unfair dismissal accounted for 43,231 claims.
Frank Blair, director of Acas Scotland, who developed the guide, said: "Employers sometimes find it hard to justify their grading and pay systems. Putting in place a job evaluation scheme can remedy this and can also help prevent equality and HR-related problems from arising.
"However, Acas is urging businesses to be fully prepared before embarking on introducing job evaluation. A good number of the difficulties encountered by organisations will be avoided by adequate preparation."
The booklet gives advice on the level of preparation required, which if undertaken properly, will create strong business benefits, Blair added.