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?

    • Great Britain

Your equal pay review may have found differences between the pay of a man/men and a woman/women doing equal work.

If so, you need take action to eliminate these differences unless you can justify them by demonstrating that the difference is due to a material factor which is not related to the sex of the jobholders. If women are at a pay disadvantage compared to men, it must be objectively justified.

Can you justify the differences?

You need to establish in which elements of pay the differences are occurring (basic pay, performance pay, amount of overtime etc.). You also need to establish what pay practice is causing the gap (such as starting pay, performance assessments, differences in acceptance of overtime opportunities between men and women) and the reason for the pay practice. You can then assess whether the pay difference is justifiable and, if not, plan to close it .

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.

What if you can’t?

If you have found pay differences between the pay of men and women doing equal work that you’re not able to justify, then you should deal with the pay gaps immediately.

You need to implement policies and procedures that enable you to establish and maintain equal pay in your organisation. There are a number of different tools and strategies for achieving this.

For further information, go to the How to achieve equal pay section of this website.

Keeping 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: 19 Feb 2019

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.