progression: whether unjustifiably long pay scales are inadvertently discriminating against women (who may be less likely to have continuous service)
bonus payments: whether bonuses are paid, or higher bonuses are paid, in jobs where men predominate.
Many public authorities, such as schools, do not set their own pay systems. They are legally liable, however, under the EqPA, for the implementation of those pay systems. Some are likely to find the screening of high-risk factors, as set out above, which they, as employers, have control over, particularly useful in complying with the duty. Schools should ensure that decisions made within the school, which have an impact on an individual’s pay (such as the allocation of Teaching and Learning Responsibility payments) are free of discrimination. Where a public authority does not set its own pay system, any pay review of that system would often be more appropriately carried out at a higher level (for example Local Education Authorities for schools).
Where public authorities do not set their own pay systems, but an authority becomes aware that there are elements in that system which are causing, or risk causing, pay discrimination, it is recommended that the public authority should alert the relevant pay body. The remit of pay review bodies in Great Britain includes a requirement to seek to ensure non-discriminatory pay systems, and to develop systems that support diversity.
Caring responsibilities and occupational segregation
Public authorities should also gather evidence on the impact of caring responsibilities on their workforces. Based on that evidence and on consultation with employees and trade unions, they should consider whether it is appropriate to set objectives to address any relevant issues. Women are significantly more likely than men to work part-time, often because of childcare and other caring responsibilities. Part-time work in Britain is characterised by particularly low rates of hourly pay and reduced access to promotion and development opportunities. In addition, lack of availability of suitable childcare restricts women's employment choices. Support to female and male employees with childcare responsibilities, through providing more flexible working and training opportunities or childcare provision or subsidy, will also contribute to the promotion of equality of opportunity between women and men.
Public authorities should also collect evidence on the extent of occupational segregation in their workforces. Based on that evidence and on consultation with employees and trade unions, they should consider whether it is appropriate to set objectives to address it. Employers who have strongly segregated workforces may be at higher risk of having equal pay claims taken against them. In a highly segregated workforce it can be easy for pay arrangements to evolve in which women are paid less than men when they are doing work of equal value, giving rise to equal pay tribunal claims.
Public authorities can check which issues are relevant to any gender pay gap in their organisation by:
monitoring where women and men work in their organisation, what hours they work and at what grade. This will map any segregation by seniority and by types of work and will alert public authorities to the possible impact of caring responsibilities.
using any annual staff monitoring exercise to ask staff if they have caring responsibilities, and whether this is for children or for older people.