Equal pay review step 3: identify any action that needs to be taken

Multipage Guide

Who is this page for?

  • small and medium organisations (fewer than 50 employees)

Which countries is it relevant to?

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      Great Britain

If your equal pay review has found differences between the pay of men and women doing equal work you need to understand why this is and take action to eliminate them.

The only reason you would not need to take action is if you can justify your pay differences by demonstrating that the difference is due to a material factor which is not related to the sex of the jobholders. 

Understand the reason for any differences in pay

  • Find out where differences in pay are occurring. For example is it basic pay, performance pay, amount of overtime worked etc.
  • Understand what pay practice is causing the gap. For example is it starting pay, performance assessments, and differences in acceptance of overtime opportunities between men and women
  • Understand the reason for the pay practice.

You can then assess whether the pay difference is:

  • Due to the sex of the role holder, in which case you should take action to close it
  • Is due to a reason which places women in general at a disadvantage in comparison to men  in which case you should plan to close it unless there is a real need for it, and paying people different is an appropriate and necessary way of achieving that need.

It’s a good idea to keep a record of the causes of any pay differences, whether you think they are justified, and if so, your reasons with supporting evidence.

Deal with any differences in pay that aren’t justifiable

Implement policies and procedures that enable you to establish and maintain equal pay in your organisation. Our guidance on taking action if you have an equal pay problem will help.

Keep up to date

To make sure you’re staying on track and continuing to comply with the equal pay provisions of the Equality Act 2010, it is recommended that you carry out an equal pay review every two years.


While every effort has been made to ensure that this advice is accurate and up to date, it does not guarantee that you could successfully defend an equal pay claim. Only the courts or tribunals can give authoritative interpretations of the law.

Last updated: 26 Aug 2020

Contact Acas for further information

If you are involved in an employment dispute or are seeking information on employment rights and rules, you can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas):

Visit the Acas website

Freephone: 0300 123 1100 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday)

Text Relay service: 18001 0300 123 1100.