United Kingdom

Open salary policies would address gender pay gap

September 2015


Operating transparent pay policies will help address the gender pay gap, says retail recruitment specialist, Retail Human Resources.

Their proposal comes amidst government plans to tackle the issue by introducing mandatory pay audits and voluntary pay gap reporting. In October 2014, Employment Tribunals were granted powers to order equal pay audits of certain companies who had failed to comply with equal pay legislation. In addition, voluntary – rather than mandatory - pay gap reporting has been recommended by the government.

But Peter Burgess, Director at Retail Human Resources, who has successfully overseen an open pay policy for two decades is unconvinced that auditing will make any impact on the legislation.

Speaking to HR Grapevine, he commented: “It sounds like a good idea but who will do the audit? I fear that it will just add to bureaucracy and be regarded as government inspired meddling.”

Instead, open pay policies would help ‘build a culture of trust and respect’, he said, whilst ensuring that staff are ‘not unwittingly, treated unfairly’.

He added: “You can work towards increased openness and in doing so you increase trust. Secrecy clauses in employment contracts are no longer lawful, (Equality Act 2010). However, even if they were, it’s naive to think that employees don’t discuss salaries.”

Jeff Fox, Senior Consultant at Aon Employee Benefits said: “The best reward strategy is one that is built on transparency and clear communication. Openness is key. Whilst this is the road less travelled for many employers at this time, and probably for the foreseeable future, the most enlightened reward teams are looking at open pay policies as a fundamental way to address the gender pay gap.”



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