Section 98 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA), which came into force on 25th April 2013, inserted a new section, 193A, into the Equality Act 2010 (EQA).
The new section gave the government power to make regulations to require employment tribunals to order an employer that loses an equal pay case to carry out an equal pay audit. In response to a consultation that closed on 18th July 2013, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) confirmed that employers would not be required to publish the details of equal pay audits.
However, the GEO went on to state that employers would need to make the results of equal pay audits available to the employees covered by the audit, relevant trade unions and the employment tribunal that ordered the audit to take place. The GEO also recommended that employers make the results available publically, even though that will not be compulsory.
The government hopes to introduce equal pay audit regulations next year. According to the current proposals, employers would be required to:
- Compare the terms and conditions of employment for male and female staff doing the same or broadly similar work, work rated as equivalent and work shown to be of equal value
- Where there are significant pay inequalities, establish the causes, assess the reasons and determine if pay gaps are related to gender
- Where pay gaps cannot be explained by reasons other than gender, develop an equal pay action plan
Employers that do not comply with the order to carry out an equal pay audit could face fines of up to £5,000 once the new regime comes into force.
At Palmers Solicitors, we offer a complete range of dedicated employment law services, giving you the freedom to choose exactly which areas we can help with, including assistance with equal pay issues.