The ability of investment banks and other financial institutions in the City of London to keep pay and bonuses confidential is under threat from a recent change in equal pay law.
Under the Equality Act (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014, which came into force on 1 October, employers who lose an equal pay claim can now be ordered to carry out an equal pay audit and publish it on their website. An investment bank which loses an equal pay claim now faces not just the cost of making up the difference in pay for one woman, but the possibility of an audit, of having to publish what employees earn, including bonuses, and having to make up pay for all the women who have been underpaid.
The Fawcett Society reports that the difference between female and male pay in the City can be as high as 55% in the finance sector. We were surprised at this figure, but in our experience many women are certainly paid less than men in the City of London.
So, these new Regulations provide determined women with an opportunity to dramatically increase their pay and to recover arrears of pay for years of past service. It obviously won’t be easy to bring a claim and see it through to an Employment Tribunal. Having said that, good lawyers see helping claimants through stressful litigation as an essential part of the service they provide.
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