gender-equalityThe Government has published a second consultation on equal pay audits after initially consulting on the subject as part of its Modern Workplaces consultation in 2011.

In its response to the first consultation, the Government confirmed that Employment Tribunals would order employers to conduct equal pay audits if they had been found to have discriminated against employees on the basis of their sex when dealing with pay.

The second consultation, announced yesterday (23 May), is seeking views from businesses on the further detail of equal pay audits and the likely details of the upcoming legislation relating to them.

Under the legislation, Employment Tribunals will be able to impose civil penalties of up to £5,000 for non-compliance with an equal pay order; however microbusinesses (those with fewer than ten employees) and start-up businesses will initially be exempt from the proposals.

Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson, said:

“We want to eliminate inequality between men and women in the workplace and if we are to make full use of women’s skills and talents, we need to create more inclusive workplaces, which includes tackling the gender pay gap.

“Only employers who have breached the law will be ordered to carry out equal pay audits, so there will be no upfront burdens on business. It is important to deal with breaches of equal pay law if we are to make a change.”

The consultation closes on 18 July 2013 and the Government has stated that it hopes this legislation will come into force in 2014.