Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced Tuesday (March 12) it will investigate the BBC over complaints that female employees have not been receiving equal pay with men.
The investigation will examine formal and informal pay grievances raised with the BBC staff to “determine if there has been unlawful pay discrimination and whether grievances have been adequately resolved.”
The BBC has voluntarily provided information about its pay policies and its program of reform, which includes changes to terms and conditions and pay practices.
The EHRC will publish a report with the Commission’s findings and recommendations for the BBC once the investigation is concluded.
“Paying men and women the same salary for the same job has been a legal requirement for almost 50 years,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive at (EHRC) said, in a statement. “Every organization should know we are fully committed to ensuring employers comply with equal pay law. Employers today should be doing as much as they can do to ensure all their staff enjoy a working environment that allows them to achieve their full potential.”
In response to the investigation, a BBC spokesperson released a statement saying, “Given the public focus on this important issue we understand why the Equality and Human Rights Commission is looking for assurance on equal pay and we welcome it. It is a logical time to do this as we have gone through a period of significant reform.
“We are confident that the BBC can provide that assurance and indeed go beyond and demonstrate our commitment to be a model for others to follow in this area as a result of our reform program, although of course we will learn any lessons from the EHRC’s work as we continue to deliver change.”
The British pubcaster also released a note about its updated on-air pay framework, saying that over the past three years it has implemented significant changes to its strategy, including overhauling its terms and condition of employment, introducing the Career Path Framework, cutting the number of job titles from 5,000 to 600, publishing the pay range for each job, and carrying out a number of reviews to ensure the broadcaster is an inclusive work environment.
Read the full BBC statement below regarding the EHRC investigation:
Given the public focus on this important issue we understand why the Equality and Human Rights Commission is looking for assurance on equal pay and we welcome it. It is a logical time to do this as we have gone through a period of significant reform.
We are confident that the BBC can provide that assurance and indeed go beyond and demonstrate our commitment to be a model for others to follow in this area as a result of our reform program, although of course we will learn any lessons from the EHRC’s work as we continue to deliver change.
The EHRC’s terms of reference acknowledge the programme of reforms the BBC has been undertaking. If they had worked with us prior to our reforms, they would have found a very different organisation. Some of the criticism levelled at us over this period was very fair as change was overdue. We believe our pay structures are now fair, transparent to staff and stand very positive comparison with other organizations.
Over the past two years, we have actively encouraged people to come forward with questions over their pay. Many of these have been routine queries, and we have now resolved more than 85% of them. We also commissioned independent reviews which did not find systemic issues of pay discrimination but, along with work we’d already been doing, identified improvements to our pay structures which we have been making.
As we have already acknowledged, we have some historic equal pay cases. We are profoundly sorry for this. We regret the time it has taken to resolve all of the questions, but some of these are complex and have not been straightforward to resolve. We are determined to make progress on the remaining ones.