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About the P&I Team Briefings Home | Responses | PFI Index | Policy Guide
Equal Pay Audits Briefing 39
 
 

June 2002

INTRODUCTION:

In the last briefing we looked at what constituted a Pay Systems Review.

The only way in which an employer can determine this is to carry out an equal pay audit. This will reveal the nature and extent of any gender pay inequalities. Action can then be planned and implemented to remedy any inequalities.

This briefing moves to the next step of the process of determining whether inequalities exist in pay systems.

Background:

The Equal Pay Taskforce an independent body made up of senior representatives from industry, trade unions, the civil service and the public sector, as well as experts in pay equality and gender issues was established by the Equal Opportunities Commission. It spent over a year examining the current position on equal pay and made 5 clear recommendations about how the matter should be taken forward if equal pay between men and women was to be eliminated in 8 years.

A key recommendation was the need for the current Equal Pay legislation to be amended to require employers to carry out regular equal pay audits. Current legislation only allows for a voluntary pay review. As many employees are reluctant at present to commit themselves to such reviews the onus is on trade unions to press for them to take place. They proposed a two stage pay review process.

If an employer is persuaded to undertake an audit there are two stages which need to be followed.

Stage One is a Pay System Equality Check. The purpose of the Stage One Review is to provide a simple, speedy check to enable employers to begin to establish whether they have a gender pay gap. It is essential that employers complete this Stage One Review unless they can show they have already completed a full systems pay review in line with the EOC's Code of Practice. This Code of Practice is currently being revised to bring it up-to-date and provide information in plain English. Further info from the EOC Website.

Overleaf is a suggested model for a Stage One Review.

For those employers who have identified a gender pay gap as part of a Stage One Review a more detailed Stage Two Equal Pay Review should follow. Details of Stage Two will appear in a future briefing.

Pay System Equality Check

Answer the following questions:

  1. Does your organisation have a stated policy on equal pay4?
  2. Has the equal pay policy been communicated to employees and recognised trade unions?
  3. Has responsibility for the implementation of the policy been clearly assigned?
  4. Have you carried out a pay systems review to establish whether you have a gender pay gap, in line with the EOC's Code of Practice?
  5. Does your organisation use a single job evaluation5 system covering all employees to determine who is performing equal work?

If you answer 'yes' to all the questions you have taken the key steps to begin to address the question of equal pay as an employer. Continue regularly to review all aspects of your pay systems for inequalities.

'No' answers to questions 4 and 5 indicate that you cannot be confident you are an equal pay employer. The equal pay review below will help you to determine whether you have a gender pay gap.

4 An example can be found in the EOC Code of Practice on Equal Pay

5A job evaluation scheme must be analytical, using factors such as effort, skill and decision, and free of sex bias in design and operation to meet the requirements of equal pay legislation.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Equal Opportunities Commission
www.eoc.org.uk
0141 248 5833

Scottish Executive Equality Unit
www.scotland.gov.uk
0131 244 0123

Scottish Low Pay Unit
unit@scotlpu.org.uk
0141 221 4491

Scottish Trades Union Congress
0141 337 8100

Fair Play Scotland
0141 248 5833

Top of page

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Equal Opportunities Commission
www.eoc.org.uk
0141 248 5833

Scottish Executive Equality Unit
www.scotland.gov.uk
0131 244 0123

Scottish Low Pay Unit
unit@scotlpu.org.uk
0141 221 4491

Scottish Trades Union Congress
0141 337 8100

Fair Play Scotland
0141 248 5833