Government to streamline equal pay tribunals

The
Government has announced plans to streamline equal value employment tribunals
to cut down the time cases take to complete.

These
tribunals involve workers claiming equal pay on the basis that they are doing
work of equal value to that of someone of the opposite sex, rather than the
same or a similar job.

At
the moment, even straightforward equal value cases can take up to two years to
complete, while some can take even longer.

Towards
Equal Pay: A Consultation On Proposals To Streamline Equal Value Tribunal
Procedures proposes to introduce a guide to the tribunal to help manage the
process, and to create a readily available pool of specially trained tribunal
chairmen to help reduce unnecessary delays in the system.

Introduction
of the proposals could mean the process takes just six to nine months and the
time taken in more complex cases reduced to around 18 months.

Jacqui
Smith, deputy minister for Women and Equality, said: "We are determined to
tackle unequal pay, and these new rules should result in a more efficient
service and delivery of swifter justice."

The
12-week consultation on these proposals begins today and will finish on 10 June
2004.

The
proposals would:


give employment tribunal presidents the power to appoint tribunal panels with
specialist knowledge of equal value cases


allow specialist tribunals to develop expertise in managing large-scale cases
in this complex and highly-specialised area of law


grant tribunals the power to insist on early exchange of factual information,
with a requirement that the parties produce a written statement setting out
where they agree and disagree


introduce new rules of procedure that are more user-friendly and supported by
detailed practice directions to ensure a more consistent approach to case
management


limit the number of independent experts called to give evidence in complex
cases


increase the use of equal value hearings to set timetables and deal with delays
and disagreements


enable the independent experts appointed to the Acas panel to focus on the
issue of equal value by ensuring they are provided with relevant information
early on.

By Michael Millar

Comments are closed.