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equal pay

HR Consulting Associates

Equal Pay

Update August 2008

In the light of recent widely reported Appeal Court judgements, we have reluctantly taken a policy decision that we cannot have any involvement with public sector equal pay reviews.

An article from lawyers Wragge & Co is a helpful summary of the issues.



Equal pay questionnaire procedures have placed this subject high on the practical HR agenda. 


The practical consequences of the process have yet to be seen, in particular the boundaries tribunals will apply to confidentiality concerning other employee's remuneration.  But - there are 8 weeks to respond to a questionnaire with clear answers, otherwise:

HR policies &

Employment law

Equal pay


Outsourced HR

Employee surveys

Remuneration systems

Employee handbooks

Employment law training

Employment lawyers


an employment tribunal may draw any inference it considers is just and equitable


The questionnaire itself represents a very significant task if an employer does not already have comprehensive pay information - the 8 week turnround time will in many instances be a nightmare for the employer.


There is a legal risk, so there ought to be consideration of risk reduction.    As a consultancy we do not take any position about "should" or "should not".  That is for the pressure groups.  Our role is to help client organisations achieve their pay policy objectives.  These may range from a high profile, positive campaign to putting responsible modest effort into ensuring there are no avoidable and unknown problems.  Both may be sensible strategies - it all depends on the organisation.


The EHRC places considerable emphasis on a pay review.  You may find it useful to look at their site - http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/ .


A comprehensive analysis is based on a model (and sequence) of:

  • What

  • Where

  • Why

  • Actions

  • Monitoring

What are the issues?

Establish the facts.  For a large organisation this is seldom simple.  Data required certainly includes most of:


  • Grade
  • Base pay
  • Variable pay
  • Benefits value
  • Gender
  • Length of service
  • Time in grade
  • Age
  • Appraisal ratings
  • Appointment salaries


In short, we apply sophisticated statistical analysis to all relevant available data.  Data can usually be exported to us from the corporate HR Information System, although quite frequently we are dependent on several separate internal sources that then have to be integrated. 


Where are the issues?

In all probability any review will show some differences between remuneration for men and women.  An employer can do something about this with information about “where” as well as "what".  This we establish statistically.  Our analysis identifies the extent to which any differences can be attributed to (examples) appointment salaries, merit based reviews and bonuses, or differential incidence of regrading.


Why are there issues?

What are the causes of pay differences?  Having established and quantified differences, and identified where they are occurring (both location and where in the reward system) we can investigate the associated policies and practices.  There can be surprising results.



We identify for clients the policies and practices that need changing in order to achieve pay objectives.  These include detailed costing and impact assessment.



It is essential that a review is not a one-off exercise.  We can establish for a client appropriate measures for monitoring, using the results of the initial programme as the reference point.


It isn't easy…..

A professional and comprehensive review takes time and skilled resource.

If you need help or guidance on these issues, call us.  We have the depth of relevant knowledge and expertise to handle very large assignments (comprehensive reviews for multi thousand employee populations) but will happily help a small business with a concern, or a major organisation with a specific issue to investigate rather than wanting a complete equal pay review.


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