MPs call for mandatory equal pay audits

Equal pay audits should be mandatory for large private sector employers, according to a report by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.

Its Women in the workplace report also stated that the Equality and Humans Rights Commission (EHRC) should publish details of organisations that are not compliant.

The Government Equalities Office published a consultation paper on the introduction of mandatory equal pay audits on 3 June.

The Women in the workplace report also recommended that:

  • Employees should be entitled to ask for flexible-working arrangements from the outset, not only after they have been in a job for six months.
  • The government should establish a voluntary code of practice to highlight best practice in the provision of quality part-time and flexible-working arrangements, and must dispel the myth that any type of flexible working is problematic and cannot work. 
  • The government should reconsider its decisions to introduce fees for pregnancy discrimination cases, and to call time on the undertaking of Equality Impact Assessments.

Adrian Bailey, MP, chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, said: “Four decades since the Equal Pay Act, we still do not have full workplace equality.  We cannot wait another 40 years.

“Comprising over half the population, significant public funds are invested in women.  Ensuring they reach their full potential is therefore as much an economic argument as one about equality. 

“At the heart of the matter is the need for cultural change. Without this we address symptoms rather than causes.

“Flexible working is not a women’s issue. It affects all employees with caring responsibilities. We must dispel the myth that it is problematic and cannot work.

“Far from reducing workplace inequality, introducing fees for pregnancy discrimination cases, calling time on Equality Impact Assessments, and repealing provisions for the questionnaire procedure in discrimination cases, all risk exacerbating it.”