Workers move one step closer to 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
at the same level, closed on Friday.

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 the response, employees will be able to decide if they have a
legitimate claim for a tribunal. Employers will not have a statutory obligation
to provide answers, but a 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. "Although employers will be familiar with the
questionnaire method, some might find this open approach something of a culture
shock.

"They should look closely at their procedures for monitoring pay scales
to ensure they will not encounter any problems if presented with a
questionnaire," she said.

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