Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate between men and women in terms of their pay and conditions where they are in the same employment and are doing the same or similar work, work rated as equivalent or work of equal value. An employer only has a defence against a claim of sex discrimination with regard to pay where the difference in contractual terms is due to a ‘material factor’ which is not directly or indirectly discriminatory.
From 1 October 2014, the Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014 apply to Employment Tribunal (ET) claims presented on or after that date where the employer has been found to have breached the equal pay provisions of the Equality Act.
The Regulations set out the circumstances in which the ET must order the employer to carry out an equal pay audit, the required contents of the audit and the timetable for ensuring compliance with the order.
Failure to comply with an order may result in a penalty not exceeding £5,000, with possible additional penalties for employers who continually fail to comply with an order.
If you would like assistance with carrying out a review of the pay and conditions of your workforce to check that these are fully compliant with equal pay legislation, contact us.
The Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014 can be found here.