A report published today by PwC has found that there is “no gender bias” regarding pay decisions at the BBC but their approach to pay in general “has been far from perfect”. The report found a 6.8 percent gender pay gap among on-air staff earning more than £150,000. Contributor Jacob Demeza-Wilkinson, Employment Law Consultant – ELAS Group
The Corporation has been under the spotlight since releasing the salaries of their highest earners, with many high profile female employees voicing their opinions on the inequality exposed. Earlier this month Carrie Grace quit as China Editor over equal pay and last week six of the leading male presenters agreed to take pay cuts. Many women at the BBC have told MP’s they face ‘veiled threats’ while trying to raise the subject of equal pay, with 150 women putting forward written evidence to a parliamentary committee ahead of a hearing tomorrow.
Jacob Demeza-Wilkinson is an employment law consultant for the ELAS Group. He says: “The recent publicity surrounding the well documented concerns and issues surrounding the gender pay gap and equal pay issues at the BBC further evidences the importance of ensuring that there are no pay gaps within your organisation.
“Of particular concern is the recent article suggesting that female employees at the BBC have faced threats whilst simply trying to raise the issue of equal pay, which it is their legal right to do. As an employer, if you are approached by a female employee raising an issue of equal pay then it’s important to give this concern your full attention. All employees have a right to be paid the same as a member of the opposite sex for doing the same work. If they aren’t then they will have a valid legal claim which could be particularly costly, and which could result in a public judgment showing that you are in the wrong.
“However this is a wider issue, particularly for larger employers, who are now obliged to publish full salary details publicly. As can be seen from the severe backlash the BBC has received, any pay discrepancies can have a significant detrimental effect on the reputation of your business. Whilst the BBC are now making efforts to remedy the situation, largely through enforced pay cuts for male employees, the damage has already been done.