Equal pay audits

24 October 2006

In June 2001, a JNCHES (Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff) working group was set up to identify the work needed to ensure that the sector's pay system delivers equal pay for work of equal value.

The working group subsequently issued guidance for employers that aims to identify equal pay issues, and enable work toward the elimination of unfair inequalities in pay. One key recommendation is that each higher education institution should carry out regular equal pay audits.

A pay audit would be beneficial in highlighting areas for concern relating to equal pay and allowing the causes of inequality to be recognised. Undertaking such an exercise would:

  • establish whether there are pay inequities arising because of gender, race, disability or contractual status;
  • analyse in more detail the nature of any inequities;
  • analyse the factors creating inequities and diagnose the cause or causes;
  • determine what action is required to deal with any inequities revealed by the analysis and diagnosis.
  • An audit's outcome should also guide institutions on the actions required to fulfil both their ethical and legal obligations to pay equally those carrying out work of equal value.

    UCU is therefore actively encouraging all individual institutions to sign up to this process of tackling pay inequality issues.

    In general a review should contribute to the development and maintenance of a fair and equitable reward system. The establishment of such a system would in turn enhance the image of each institution as an employer. This would improve the climate of employee relations and therefore the ability of the institution to attract and retain the staff it requires.

    UCU believes that following the implementation of new pay and grading arrangements, as a result of the Framework Agreement, institutions should carry out a full equal pay audit in line with the JNCHES guidance. This must be carried out to ensure that the new structures have been implemented in a non-discriminatory way. Regular monitoring of the operation of the pay structures should also be agreed.

    Last updated: 24 March 2014