Companies must be prepared for equal pay questionnaires

The
consultation period on the equal pay questionnaires, which will give staff the
right to request pay information on a colleague of the opposite sex, closes
today.

The
new questionnaire, due to come into force as early as April as part of the
Employment Act, will enable individuals to request key information from their
employers to establish if they are receiving equal pay and, if not, the reasons
why.

Based
on employers’ response, employees will be able to decide if they have a
legitimate claim and if so, prepare their case for tribunal. Employers will not
have a statutory obligation to provide answers, but an employment tribunal will
be entitled to take a negative view of organisations that refuse to answer or
evade the questions.

Audrey
Williams, employment law specialist at Eversheds law firm, warned companies to
be prepared.

She
said: “Although employers will be familiar with the questionnaire method, some
employers might find this open approach to discussing pay scales with an
employee something of a culture shock. We would strongly advise all employers
to look closely at their procedures for monitoring pay scales to ensure that
they will not encounter any problems if they are presented with a
questionnaire.

“This
could include carrying out an audit of salary levels at regular intervals.

“Employers
should also be particularly mindful of equal pay legislation when recruiting
new staff and carrying out promotions as these are the most common areas in
which mistakes can be made.”

By Ben Willmott

Comments are closed.