Equal pay - the law and best practice

Benefits of carrying out an equal pay audit


Employers are responsible for providing equal pay for equal work and it is good practice to conduct pay audits to ensure that this is the case. Where a pay system lacks transparency, the employer could be required to prove that the pay system does not discriminate because of gender.

Some changes regarding equal pay and pay audits will take effect in the near future - see equal pay: upcoming legal changes.

Pay arrangements are often complicated and the features that can give rise to discrimination in pay are not always obvious.

The benefits to an organisation of carrying out an equal pay audit include:

  • identifying, explaining and, where unjustifiable, eliminating pay inequalities
  • having rational, fair and transparent pay arrangements
  • demonstrating to employees and to potential employees a commitment to equality
  • demonstrating the organisation's values to those it does business with

To ensure that your equal pay audit follows best practice, you can use the following resource developed by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland: