CBI criticises Conservative plans to give employment tribunals equal pay audit power

Conservative Party plans to give employment tribunals the power to order firms guilty of discrimination to undertake equal pay audits have been criticised by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Shadow minister for women Theresa May announced the plans as part of a policy document on equal pay.

May said: “One problem with the current approach is that if a woman plucks up the courage to take her employer to a tribunal, even if she wins her case her employer is not required to ensure that it is not discriminating unfairly against other female employees.

“Our policy addresses this unfairness and ensures that guilty employers have to change their practices for all their employees – not just the one who went to court.”

But Susan Anderson, director of human resources policy at the CBI, warned that compulsory pay audits were not the answer.

“Giving employment tribunals the power to order firms, if guilty of pay discrimination, to undertake formal pay audits, while attractive at first glance, will do little to tackle these underlying causes of the pay gap.”

Other measures annouced by the Conservatives include:

* An extension to the right to request flexible working to all parents of children aged 18 or younger

* New measures to help women into work and up the careers ladder

* Support for young women to make broader and more ambitious career choices

Anderson also cautioned against the extension of the right to request flexible working.

“If politicians rush too soon to offer the right to many more people, employers may reluctantly have to say no more often,” she said.

“A balance must be struck which helps employees but does not undermine an employer’s ability to get the job done.”


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