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Consultation on equal pay audits

The Government has launched a consultation, seeking the views of businesses on equal pay audits and the likely impact of proposed laws that will bring in a new requirement to conduct equal pay audits in certain circumstances.

Under the proposals, an Employment Tribunal that finds that an employer has breached equal pay laws will be obliged to order the employer to conduct a pay audit.

The consultation lists a few exceptions:

  1. “An audit that satisfies prescribed requirements was carried out by the employer in the previous three years.
  2. The tribunal finds that the employer’s current pay arrangements are transparent so that it is clear, without an audit, whether any action is needed to prevent any breaches of equal pay laws occurring or continuing.
  3. The tribunal has found no reason to believe that the employer’s breach of equal pay law is a systemic problem.
  4. The disadvantages of an audit would outweigh the benefits of doing one.”

“We want to eliminate inequality between men and women in the workplace and if we are to make full use of women’s skills and talents, we need to create more inclusive workplaces, which includes tackling the gender pay gap,” explained Minister for Women and Equalities Jo Swinson.

“Only employers who have breached the law will be ordered to carry out equal pay audits, so there will be no upfront burdens on business. It is important to deal with breaches of equal pay law if we are to make a change,” she added.

The Government aims to bring its equal pay audit regulations into force in 2014.

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