In the UK, employers must give both men and women equal treatment in their employment terms and conditions if they do:
- ‘like work’ – work that is the same or mostly similar
- work seen as equivalent under a job evaluation exercise
- work deemed to be of equal value in terms of effort, skill or decision making.
Employees are able to compare the terms within their employment contract with the same terms in a colleague’s contract, if, their colleague is an employee of the opposite sex and doing work of equal value. However, an employer is able to defend a claim if they show the reason for the difference in pay is not based on the sex of the employee.
Equal Pay is not the gender pay gap
The gender pay gap is different from equal pay as it is concerned with the differences in the average pay between men and women over a period of time no matter what their role is.
Equal pay deals with the pay differences between men and women who carry out the same or similar jobs. For information on the gender pay gap and the UK regulations on calculating it, check out our page on the gender pay gap regulations.
What is an Equal Pay Audit?
An equal pay audit involves comparing the pay of men and women doing equal work in your company. It has three objectives:
- to identify any differences in pay between men and women doing equal work
- to investigate the causes of any differences in pay between men and women doing equal work
- to eliminate unequal pay issues that cannot be justified.
An audit is not just a data collection exercise. It is a commitment to put right any unfair pay inequalities. This means that the audit must have the involvement and support of managers with the authority to deliver change.
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