Private sector employers could be forced by law to carry out pay audits if
they do not carry them out voluntarily.
This was the message from CIPD assistant general secretary Duncan Brown,
after research released at the conference showed only a fifth of organisations
had carried out equal pay audits in the past five years.
The Government has recently made it a requirement that all public bodies
carry out equal pay audits, but the majority of employers surveyed – 86 per
cent – said they favour voluntary audits for the private sector.
Commenting on the low percentage of organisations that had undertaken an
audit, Brown said: "This is alarming, given that the Government opted not
to force private sector organisations to carry out equal pay audits; especially
when such an overwhelming majority favour a voluntary approach.
"Private sector organisations are effectively on trial, and if the
situation continues, they will face the requirement that is currently before
public sector organisations, which will lead to much more unwanted red
Julie Mellor, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, told the
conference the persistent pay gap has now risen slightly to 19 per cent.
"Britain is stuck in a rut," she said.
She urged that pay audits be mandatory, and companies review their pay and