Equal Pay issues – What employers should be doing

Keeping you up to date with HR news & updates.

Equal Pay issues – What employers should be doing

  • Posted

The BBC’s equal pay nightmare continues – following the outrage expressed during last summer over discrepancies in pay for male and female presenters, Carrie Gracie’s revelations about editorial staff leaves the broadcaster continuing to make headlines rather than simply reporting them.

In the light of the publicity, it is perhaps surprising that a review of the BBC’s pay structure by PwC “found no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making”. What this effectively means is that BBC managers did not deliberately set out to pay women less than men. The reality of pay discrepancies at the broadcaster, however, indicates that paying lip service to an Equal Opportunities policy isn’t enough for employers to fulfil their responsibilities – a more proactive approach is required.

So, what should employers be doing to avoid falling into the same trap?

  1. Regularly review pay levels for men and women doing the same role. If there is a difference, review whether there is a justifiable reason for this. If not, take prompt action to remove the discrepancy.
  2. One commentator interviewed on Radio 4 suggested that part of the reason for the BBC discrepancies was that men are more likely to ask for a payrise than women. To overcome this, employers should look to have a regular pay review process that includes all employees, with payrises outside this process only granted in exceptional circumstances and for reasons the employer can justify. The pay review process can also be used as the time to address any anomalies.
  3. Larger employers could also consider introducing some form of job evaluation process, to review the comparative value of roles across the organisation. Supermarket giant ASDA is currently facing a claim from workers (predominantly female) based in its stores that they should be paid similar rates to colleagues (predominantly male) in the distribution centres. A formal job evaluation process can help not just with identifying an appropriate pay level for individual roles but also introduce a degree of systematic fairness when looking at different roles across the organisation.

The principles of the Equal Pay Act have been with us since 1970 but pay gaps between the sexes still remain in many sectors. With the deadline for Gender Pay Gap reports for larger employers now imminent and the publicity over the BBC, perhaps the aspirations of the Act are now coming closer to being fulfilled.

Contact our HR Consultants today

If you need specific advice or would like further information, please get in touch with our specialist team by filling out our online enquiry form or by calling 0333 222 0989.


    How can we help you?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible or to speak to one of our experts call
    0333 222 0989

    I accept that my data will be held for the purpose of my enquiry in accordance with Ashtons
    Privacy Policy.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    How can we help?

    If you have an enquiry or you would like to find out more about our services, why not contact us?