There has been a substantial rise in the number of equal pay claims, up from 979 in 2003-04 to 6,607 in 2004-05, according to figures just out from Acas’ annual survey. And only last month, the world’s biggest ever sex discrimination claim worth £800m was brought by six female employees of investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein who claimed they were paid less than their male colleagues and denied promotion, among other things.
So it’s no coincidence that we’ve devoted our brand new “head to head” feature (www.personneltoday.com/34084.article) to the crucial topic of equal pay this month – an indication that if you’re not thinking about equal pay issues, then it should be on your agenda. The pay gap between male and female employees remains unacceptably high and, with the likely implementation of the Equality Bill due next year, employers should be taking steps now to eradicate inequalities.
For the latest case decisions on equal pay, see our popular case round-up section, which also warns about the importance of having transparent pay structures and conducting pay audits. It also helpfully clarifies ‘what constitutes a grievance’ in the eyes of the courts, as the first cases on the new statutory grievance procedures start to trickle through.
Employers looking to develop a business continuity plan should turn to www.personneltoday.com/34095.article for plenty of ‘what if’ questions and policy tips to get you started. The Buncefield oil depot blast should act as an uncomfortable wake-up call that prompts firms to plan how they would survive if they had to keep trading in the aftermath of a disaster.
Finally, in case it had escaped your notice, Employers’ Law is sporting a brand new look this month. See www.personneltoday.com/34087.article for details on what’s new.