Compulsory equal pay audits split profession

Plans
to force employers to review equal pay policies have divided the HR profession.

The
Equal Pay Task Force, comprising employers and academics, last week recommended
that the Government amend the Equal Pay Act to make annual equal pay reviews mandatory.

Bob
Mason, chairman of the task force and senior vice-president of HR at BT
Wireless, said, “Voluntarism isn’t going to work. Unless companies gather pay
data they will not be able to address the issue of equal pay.”

Women
still earn 18 per cent less than men on average, according to the Equal
Opportunities Commission, despite 30 years of equal pay legislation.

However,
the proposals have been rejected by employers groups. The CIPD said pay reviews
should be voluntary. Employee pressure and unions, rather than legal action,
are the biggest drivers for taking action to redress equal pay imbalances, it
argues.

Dianah
Worman, CIPD adviser on equal opportunities, said, “The EOC’s call for a change
in the law to require employers to review their pay systems will not achieve
the changes in the quickest time.”

The
CBI claims that an annual equal pay audit would place an excessive burden on
employers.

Susan
Anderson, director of human resources policy at the CBI, said, “Gathering,
analysing and understanding the data would be slow and complex.”

Julie
Mellor, chair of the EOC, welcomed the drive to reduce the pay gap by 50 per
cent over the next five years.

By Karen Higginbottom

Comments are closed.