BBC set to be investigated by Equality Watchdog over pay discrimination

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is set to face a formal investigation by the Equality Watchdog over allegations that men were regularly paid more than women for doing the same work.

After spending a year reviewing the corporations pay policies, the Equality and Human Rights Commission concluded there was evidence to suggest that some women at the organisation had not received equal pay for equal work.

The BBC made headlines in 2017 when it was forced to publish the salaries of stars earning more than £150,000 a year, which revealed for the first time how a significant number of famous men were paid substantially more than their female counterparts.

Concerns about wage inconsistency were raised and the resulting scandal led to several high profile BBC employees including Jeremy Vine and John Humphrys to take large pay cuts or choose to leave the corporation altogether.

Despite this, many BBC staff still claim gender pay inequality remains an issue at lower wage bands, where the majority of staff who work behind the scenes and substantially lower salaries that are never made public.

Small differences in salary at this level can substantially affect the quality of life.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, the chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “Paying men and women the same salary for the same job has been a legal requirement for almost 50 years. Every organisation 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 enjoys a working environment that allows them to achieve their full potential.”

The Equality Watchdog plan to examine a sample selection of “formal and informal pay complaints” filed after January 2016 to see whether the corporation had broken equality rules.

Their investigation will not just take into account basic pay but also look at whether men benefit unfairly in terms of shift rates, allowances, pensions, bonuses, sick pay, redundancy and unfair dismissal compensation awards.

It will also consider whether male and female freelancers are paid differently and investigate pay in the BBC’s commercial divisions, which make and sell programmes around the world.

The watchdog aims to complete their investigation by the end of the year.