News update – HBOS pay survey aims to root out inequality

HBOS is conducting an equal pay survey for its 60,000 employees, ahead of incoming age discrimination law, and is raising entry-level pay by 14.5%.

Three months of talks between the bank’s management and trade union Amicus resulted in entry-level pay rising from £9,260 to £10,600. The equal pay survey is expected to help eliminate gender and age pay differences. It will help the bank comply with existing equal pay legislation as well as the Age Discrimination Act, which comes into effect in October.

Amicus representative John Nolan said: "This is a huge lift for staff who are battling at the lower end of the scale, and for women who feel they are not treated in the same way as men in the workplace." An HBOS spokesman described the bank’s equal pay survey as "a move towards best practice in the area of equal opportunities".

Paul Sharma, managing partner at Sharma Solicitors, said the pay survey has come at the right time, as there will be consequences for companies that do not take action before the Age Discrimination Act comes into effect. "Companies are absolutely right and sensible to conduct these surveys. They must be aware of the make up of their staff to ensure against litigation," he said.

Sharma expects that other companies will conduct equal pay surveys. The government has set a target that 45% of large organisations should complete an equal pay review by 2008.