Three quarters of working parents think gender pay audits should be compulsory, according to a poll by Working Mums.
The poll of over 210 working parents found only 20% were against gender pay audits. The other 5% were undecided.
Comments in support of compulsory audits spoke of big pay gaps between men and women in the same profession.
One woman accountant said: “My fiance who has just passed his bookkeeping Level 2 is now on a salary that I can only dream of! He had had no prior experience and just walked in, so to speak. I have been in the accounting/project profession for the last 10 years and have only ever been offered just under half his rate. I am more qualified and experienced with glowing references under my belt. I am obviously pleased for him, but smarting at the same time.”
Others spoke of a “premium” they were forced to pay for working flexibly or part-time, which they felt was unfair. One woman commented: “For some reason companies seem to think it’s OK to offer part-time staff far less than the salary the full job would attract even when pro rata-ing is taken into account. One agency even said to me that you lose a premium for the convenience of being able to pick your kids up from school!
Basically part-time staff are cheap labour – and from my experience, you always have too much to do than can possibly be done in the part-time hours you are paid for so the rest of it you end up taking home/doing unpaid overtime.”
Another said: “Far too many women in particular are penalised and marginalised by employers, especially if they have childcare commitments. The whole ethos is wrong in the UK, with far too much power in the hands of the employers who keep pay as low as possible.” Others, however, felt that forcing companies to divulge gender pay differences at a time of recession was not the way to go and could backfire.
The poll comes after the new Equality Bill was announced in last week’s Queen’s speech. This will require employers to review gender pay differences within their organisations and publish the results.