The 1975 Equal Pay Act is "no longer fit for purpose" and is in drastic need of reform.

That is according to the Equality and Human Right Commission, which has suggested that it should no longer be up to employees to bring cases of inequality to light.

Instead, the Commission has called for a system where it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure they are providing employees with "pay systems that are transparent and fair".

Commenting on the perceived inadequacy of the current system, Nicola Brewer, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "We need to look afresh at what modern equal pay legislation should look
like … it’s time to shift the focus to preventing problems from arising in the first place, rather than tackling them through the tribunal system after the fact."

Ms Brewer said she believed the "upcoming Equality Bill" provided a "significant opportunity to move towards a modern approach".

The Commission is calling for a number of changes to the current system, which include asking larger companies to provide details of the pay bands that men and women are in.

Announced in the Queen’s speech on December 3rd 2008, the Equality Bill aims to simplify existing legislation and advance equality.