Pay parity timebomb carries unlimited risk

first_imgPay parity timebomb carries unlimited riskOn 3 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. The number one priority for HR this week is to take a look at your paysystems for men and women and be sure your business is operating on a levelplaying field. The penalties for those short-changing women or failing to eliminate paydiscrimination will be severe in future and the damage to an organisation’sreputation could be too awful to contemplate. Employers falling foul of the equal pay questionnaires being introduced nextApril face harsher compensation claims than first thought (see page one). UnderUK law employers currently have a six-year limit on back pay compensation forequal pay claims, but respected commentators are now warning this will beoverturned at the European Court of Justice and replaced by an unlimitedapproach to compensation – perhaps for the full length of service. The Government is taking pay bias very seriously following the KingsmillReview on Women’s Employment and Pay. Voluntary targets are the current stateof play, but mandatory measures could come later. The majority of employers do not deliberately discriminate, but HR cannotignore this timebomb and delay carrying out pay audits, no matter how difficultit might be. Research suggests more than 80 per cent of employers are at risk from equalpay claims from female staff and the same proportion are not confident thatthey pay fairly. To make matters worse, very few managers are trained in equalpay issues. Some organisations such as Legal & General and Birmingham City Councilrecognise their vulnerability and have taken action already, but they are theminority. If you think your business may be at risk, do a pay audit now. Look forgender disparities, perhaps resulting from mergers or acquisitions and, wherenecessary, seek help from the CIPD or the Equal Opportunities Commission, whichhas produced a five-step Equal Pay Kit. It’s more than 30 years since equal pay legislation was introduced, yet theUK’s gender pay gap is still one of the biggest in Europe. Unison calculatesits women members earn an average of 50-60p for every £1 a man earns. Thesooner HR gets to grips with this, the sooner women will feel truly valued inthe workplace. By Jane Kinglast_img

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