Employers turn their backs on equal pay reviews

More
than one in five employers have now checked or are in the process of checking
that their pay system is fair to women, but more than half still have no plans
to do an equal pay review.

According
to a new report by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), there is still a
hard core of employers who were failing to act, despite the fact that women
still take home on average 18 per cent less every hour if they work full-time,
and 40 per cent less every hour if they work part-time.

Julie
Mellor, chair of the EOC, said the private sector is being particularly slow to
take action.

Only
around one in five employers in manufacturing and private services have done an
equal pay review, compared with nearly one in three public sector employers. In
all, 67 per cent of manufacturing employers and 63 per cent of private service
sector employers said they had no plans to do an equal pay review.

Commenting
on the findings of the study, Monitoring progress on equal pay reviews, Mellor
said: "Employers are beginning to get the message: carrying out a pay
review is the only way you can be sure your pay system is fair and transparent.

"It
will also expose any other reasons for a pay gap, highlighting, for example, if
women are excluded from certain jobs or parts of the organisation, or if a lack
of flexibility prevents people with caring responsibilities from moving into
more senior positions.

"However,
more than half of all employers still have no plans to carry out this essential
check. This suggests many still refuse to accept their responsibility to clamp
down on unfair pay practices and to check women are not being prevented from
fulfilling their potential.

"A
pay system that is unfair is also inefficient. The majority of employers who
have done pay reviews said they did it because it is good practice and makes
business sense to check they are rewarding staff fairly. And in the long run it
will help protect employers against costly pay discrimination claims."

She
added: "Government leadership is key – 41 per cent of employers who had
done or were planning a pay review say they were influenced by the Government.
The public sector is already leading the way on equal pay. Now we want
ministers to build on the progress they have already made and require all
public sector bodies and their contractors to demonstrate action to tackle the
pay gap. Public money should only be going to employers who are committed to
tackling the pay gap. This would significantly increase the impetus for
change."

"If
employers continue to resist the need to carry out a pay review, we may have to
conclude that further legislation is the only way to guarantee a fair deal for
women at work," she said.

By Quentin Reade

www.eoc.org.uk

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