Research reveals more than half of workers plan to use the new equal pay questionnaires to find out how much their colleagues earn.
A survey of 1,500 employees, by recruitment consultant Joslin Rowe, finds that 51 per cent would use the Equal Pay Questionnaires - being introduced as part of the Employment Bill on 6 April 2003 - to request pay information on a comparable worker of the opposite sex.
The questionnaires are voluntary, but employers that don’t respond to requests are likely to be penalised at employment tribunals.
However, the majority of respondents are not convinced that the questionnaires will make a difference to the way they are paid.
Three-quarters of those surveyed believe that requesting key information from their employer to establish whether or not they are receiving equal pay will prove to be “more hassle than it is worth.”
The study also reveals that 61 per cent of workers believe salary discrepancies exist between men and women at their firm.
Workers were also asked whether they thought the workplace is less prejudiced now than five years ago.
The majority of employees (53 per cent) believe that firms are just as prejudiced in 2003, with 41 per cent agreeing that many organisations are just “talking the talk,” while changing very little.
Nearly a third agreed the workplace was less prejudiced, with 20 per cent adding that firms are taking issues seriously.
Kris Sasitharan, manager of HR recruitment at Joslin Rowe said: “With nearly two-thirds of workers agreeing that they would be unlikely to interview with a firm that had received negative press over discrimination claims, organisations clearly need to do more to ensure all their staff are treated equally and colleagues at the same level are paid the same.
“Worryingly, many of our respondents still feel there is a lack of transparency within the remuneration process and that concepts such as the equal pay questionnaire will do little to remedy this.”