Employers failing to tackle equal pay gap

Almost three-quarters of UK organisations are not taking the recommended
steps to identify and rectify any gender pay gaps, according to a new survey.

Seventy per cent of the HR professionals surveyed by Croner Consulting
admitted their firms had not carried out an equal pay review, with another 15
per cent unsure if their companies carried out the audit.

Women’s minister Jacqui Smith announced a government consultation, which
would lead to legislative changes around equal pay tribunals late in 2004.

Under planned legislation, employers falling foul of equal pay legislation
could face prompt prosecution unless they can justify any discrepancies in pay.

The Equal Pay Act 1970 gave women the right to be paid the same as men, but
figures show that the average UK female earns 19 per cent less than her male
counterparts.

Richard Smith, employment law expert at Croner, said that employers faced so
many equal opportunities issues, such as disability, age and sex, that managing
equal pay was often swept under the carpet.

"Our survey shows that most employers may be unaware of a gender pay
gap, and that gender discrimination may therefore be going undetected," he
said.

How to close the gap

1. Treat men and women equally in their terms and conditions of
employment when they are employed in like work, equivalent work and work of
equal value

2. Demonstrate a material difference between positions of
employment that is not gender-related

3. Treat part-time employees no less favourably than their
full-time equivalents, unless this can be justified on objective grounds

4. Respond promptly and comprehensively to an equal pay
questionnaire

Source: Croner

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