The latest statics on employment tribunal claims hide some interesting information for the ordinary employer. http://tinyurl.com/cvefoq
The number of accepted claims overall increased from 132,577 to 189,303 but this was substantially fuelled by an increase in equal pay claims, which increased by 18,693 to a 62,706. Most of these claims were against government organisations as local authorities in particular grapple with the concept. http://tinyurl.com/cysuv4
A lot of chickens are coming home to roost at the tax-payers expense as government department after government department have trouble implementing the laws imposed on individual employers. Expensive equal pay and job evaluation exercises have rolled through the education system, local government and NHS. Equal pay legislation has been around for more than 30 years. The original Act was delayed five years to allow employers to put their house in order but still the government did not do so, leaving women to be underpaid and the tax payer to pick up the tab years later.
Yet women still don’t earn as much as men, employers still don’t really understand it, and a lot of tax payers money is spent on defending employment tribunal claims. Ask any ordinary manager and they have no idea of the concept of ‘work of equal value’ as opposed to ‘like work’. If you have any idea of what I am talking about you are much further ahead than most. http://tinyurl.com/cysuv4
If the government can’t successfully implement equal pay without being sued all over the place, is it time to look at the what is really going on? Many ordinary employers are sitting ducks for equal pay claims – despite years of ACAS advice, EOC guidance and so on, even fully staffed HR departments can’t always explain how pay levels are determined and owner-managers have no chance.
Is there not a simpler, cheaper way to achieve fairness than all this paperwork? If women earn less than men on average is there not simpler way to sort it out? All we have so far is an idea of delaying compulsory pay audits until the recession is over. http://tinyurl.com/cbk44n. What is this new ‘holistic’ approach the Equality and Human Rights Commission wants us to adopt? Bet it involves still more paperwork in the end. How about getting the government to do it this time before it is unleased on ordinary businesses?
Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy. Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060 Website : www.irenicon.co.uk. You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye