Pay transparency and unequal pay for equal work: devising an effective regulatory framework

PhD thesis


Patrick, A. 2023. Pay transparency and unequal pay for equal work: devising an effective regulatory framework. PhD thesis University of Southampton Faculty of Social Sciences
TypePhD thesis
TitlePay transparency and unequal pay for equal work: devising an effective regulatory framework
AuthorsPatrick, A.
Abstract

Despite being guaranteed by UK law since 1975, the right to equal pay continues to be inhibited, in part by a pervasive culture of pay secrecy. In this thesis, it is argued that strengthening compliance with equal pay law can only be achieved by imposing duties on employers to ensure their pay systems are not discriminatory, and by easing the burden of information gathering on employees who want to discover whether they are receiving discriminatory pay. To achieve this, this thesis proposes the introduction of a regulatory framework of mandatory pay transparency measures in the UK, that shifts much of the burden onto employers to prevent pay discrimination from occurring.
Drawing together economic, reflexive regulatory, and social accounting theories of information disclosure and regulatory compliance, an original theoretical framework is developed, against which the strengths and weaknesses of pay transparency can be measured. Using this theoretical framework, three case studies are conducted to analyse the design and efficacy of existing pay transparency measures, namely equal pay auditing, gender pay gap reporting and equal pay certification. Findings from these case studies are then used to inform the proposed introduction of a mandatory equal pay certification system for most UK employers across the public, private and voluntary sectors, and a right for employees to request colleagues’ pay information from their employers. It is argued that this framework of pay transparency measures can address the lack of understanding of both employers and employees of the existence and extent of unequal pay, prompt employers to take proactive steps to eliminate potentially discriminatory pay practices, and give victims of unequal pay the information they need to enforce their legal rights.

Sustainable Development Goals5 Gender equality
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
LanguageEnglish
Department nameFaculty of Social Sciences
Institution nameUniversity of Southampton
Publication process dates
Accepted2023
Deposited11 Mar 2024
Output statusPublished
Web address (URL)https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/474233/
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