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Our audits enable organisations to measure the overall pay differences (in percentage difference and total pay bill) between groups of employees based on grounds such as gender, ethnicity and age. This is also broken down by like work, comparing those rated as equivalent and of equal value, as well as by region and business unit. Also, organisations will be able to determine what is driving up the pay differences, for example, high performance.

Why Use Equal Pay Audits?

The requirement for employers to publish their Gender Pay Gap figures signals a wider movement towards examining pay equality in the workplace. Whilst employers need to be able to explain any gender pay gap - and a gender pay audit can help with this - the spotlight is quickly moving towards equal pay as a whole.

Employees can make an equal pay claim on grounds outside of gender including race, disability and age. Paydata’s services help to shed light on this sensitive subject, providing transparency that works towards making a level playing field for all employees, whilst also improving staff satisfaction and trust in management.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is the leading body responsible for equal pay. The commission works to:

• Eliminate discrimination;
• Reduce inequality;
• Protect human rights; and
• Build good relations

Employers have been prohibited from treating men and women differently in terms of pay and conditions since the Equal Pay Act in 1970 (mostly superseded by the Equality Act 2010). Indeed, Paydata first starting working in this area in 2003, supporting employers wishing to identify if there is a pay differential between demographics in the business and more importantly: what is causing it.

The most accurate and thorough way to determine whether your pay system discriminates in practice is to conduct an equal pay audit.

How do equal pay audits work?

The EHRC has set out five steps in an equal or gender pay audit process:


Decide the scope of the equal pay audit


Determine where people are doing equal work


Collect and compare pay data


Establish the causes and any justifications for significant pay gaps


Develop an equal pay action plan

Our approach to equal pay follows this best practice guidance. With years’ of experience in the field, the Paydata team is best placed to offer professional advice, ensuring that your business is seen to be leading the way in your field.

Losing key and valuable members of staff because of an issue relating to equal pay can be hugely damaging to an organisation's growth. Not only does this make for a commercial issue, but it can potentially manifest into poor PR for the business which may not only dissuade potential candidates wanting to join your team, but also potential suppliers and customers from working with you. With this in mind, equal pay audits should be conducted periodically and taken seriously.

Equal pay measures two of the three key building blocks in the workplace

Like work

Where people are doing the same or broadly similar jobs (for example, in finance teams “like work” might include all accounting and auditing jobs at a given level). This means looking at the responsibilities and duties of the employee, rather than the job title itself.

Work rated as equivalent

Where a job evaluation scheme operates and all those jobs graded the same are compared together. As part of a Paydata job survey, positions are given a corresponding job level that can be used to rate positions across various departments, industries and job families.

Work of equal value

Where there is either no job evaluation scheme in place or multiple schemes. With multiple schemes, the first step is to establish grades that have equal demands, so jobs can be compared across schemes. Where no scheme exists, the assessment method depends on the circumstances involved. In Paydata’s experience, most customers need help organising and processing their data. We can produce equal pay reports to highlight potential problems and examine data in further detail to show areas that require attention. We can also provide pay modelling services to help you develop and implement an equal pay action plan.

Having a robust job evaluation scheme will make your equal pay audit easier and more robust. If you don’t have a scheme (or your scheme isn’t up-to-date), Paydata can conduct an audit on your behalf. We can also use the job evaluation scheme that underpins our salary surveys; whilst not a defence in law, it does provide a basis to spot any suspected potential equal pay issues.

It is also worth considering investigating your equal pay issues under legal privilege. This approach means that you use your solicitor to instruct a third party (such as Paydata) to undertake work on your behalf. This can then be reported back via a solicitor, who can advise you on how to interpret the results. The benefit of this approach is that advice given under legal privilege is not admissible in a court or tribunal. Some employers conduct their own audits but if they discover things that they fail to address, it can count against them should they face an equal pay claim.

Would you like to know more about Equal Pay Audits? Get in touch.

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