The government is introducing a new policy which will essentially force employers found guilty of breaking equal pay rules to carry out a full audit, at an estimated cost of £12,800. There will be certain exemptions, such as for “micro-firms” with less than 10 employees. It is thought that the changes could prompt a 25% increase in out of court settlements by employers trying to avoid the risk of being forced to undertake an audit.
Announcing the proposals, equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said “An employment tribunal which finds that an employer has discriminated on grounds of sex in contractual or non-contractual pay will be obliged to order the employer to conduct a pay audit in cases where continuing discrimination is likely. An audit would not be ordered if an audit has been completed in the last three years, the employer has transparent pay practices or the employer can show a good reason why it would not be useful.”
To help avoid any potential discrimination claims, ensure that your company’s policies are compliant with the Equality Act 2010. You can download a comprehensive range of policies and guidance notes to help you comply with your responsibilities under equal opportunities legislation, including promoting diversity, preventing discrimination and preventing bullying and harassment.