Poll shows level of suspicion about gender pay discrimination

Some 67% of working mums suspect that they are paid less than their male colleagues who do similar work, according to a Workingmums.co.uk poll.

Just 22% said they didn’t think they were paid less and 10% said they didn’t know.

One woman remarked: “Local government is notorious for it and it won’t ever change.”

Another put it down to assumptions that women were the main carers and would take days off for children’s sickness.

The issue of equal pay for work of equal value has become a big political issue in the last few years and a number of high profile court cases have brought big fines for employers.

It has also been a factor in the debate around the gender pay gap, although equal pay and the gender pay gap are not synonymous since there are other issues involved in the gender pay gap, including the type of roles women traditionally do and the lack of career progression for many women. Workingmums.co.uk recent annual survey results showed a big demand from women for more good quality flexible jobs and a concern that the lack of them was meaning many could not progress their careers.

The gender pay gap has been in the news this week after Justine Greening, minister for women and equalities, said companies need to “fast forward” their plans to report on their gender pay audits since only 1 per cent have so far published the results. She said it was not acceptable for companies to give no timeline for when they will publish.

Under the new regulations on gender pay audits, companies with over 250 staff have to publish details of their gender pay audit – which breaks down earnings between men and women according to their rank – between April 2017 and April 2018.

Experts have suggested that companies contextualise their figures to explain any gaps and show what they are doing to address any differences between men and women’s pay.

In his speech to the Labour party conference, Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would introduce fines for companies which do not pay male and female staff equally and that the fines would reflect the scale of the offence and size of the company.

There is already legislation which deals with equal pay claims, but current remedies do not include a fine for employers. However, a tribunal can order compensation to effectively make good any inequality in pay, as well as damages which can represent a significant cost for an employer.

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