its scheme. This might include providing evidence that there is no gender pay gap within its workforce, or within any wider group of women and men who are affected by its functions as an organisation, or that the alternative objectives which it has chosen have greater significance for gender equality. Public authorities should bear in mind, however, that pay discrimination is unlawful, and the general duty requires them to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination.
In order to fulfil the general duty to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under the EqPA, a public authority must be able to demonstrate that it has considered the need to take action on pay discrimination.
The gender equality duty does not require public authorities to undertake equal pay reviews. No specific course of action is prescribed to tackle pay discrimination. The statutory Code of Practice on Equal Pay recommends, however, that the most effective way of establishing whether a public authority's pay policies and pay systems are discriminatory is to undertake an equal pay review.
The fundamental components of an equal pay review are:
comparing the pay of women and men doing equal work. Here employers need to check for one or more of the following: like work; work rated as equivalent; work of equal value - these checks are the foundation of an equal pay review
identifying any equal pay gaps, including by differences between part-time and full-time workers' pay
eliminating those pay gaps that cannot satisfactorily be explained on grounds other than sex.
The Code of Practice on Equal Pay and supporting toolkits are the recommended tools for undertaking this process. These can be found at www.eoc.org.uk
A public authority that has undertaken a pay review, containing the elements described above, in the preceding four years may not need to repeat it, unless it has undergone significant changes to its workforce, as it should already have evidence of the situation in its organisation and should be taking action.
Public authorities may also choose to collect pay information across a selected sample of their staff, for example administrators, manual workers, or departments or units such as IT or physiotherapy, to see if women and men carrying out the same jobs or jobs of equal value are receiving equal pay. Given the requirement to consult, any such approach should be discussed with the relevant trade union. Sampling may indicate a problem which suggests the need to proceed to a full pay review.
If a public authority decides not to undertake a full pay review, it may be appropriate for it to carry out a screening process, for example, to address areas known to pose a high risk of pay discrimination. These will include:
starting salaries: checking whether women and men who have been recruited to the same jobs or jobs of equal value are being appointed on the same starting salary and whether any patterns are related to sex-based factors