Half of all councils have now undertaken equal pay reviews and the current bill has been put at£2.8bn, according to research by Local Government Employers (LGE).
School staff figure heavily with a survey revealing that school staff account for 29% of equal pay costs for a given authority with up to around 75% in the most extreme cases.
The total cost of pay reviews is estimated at£2.8bn, with a total back pay at£1bn and ongoing costs at£1.5bn and protection at£0.4bn.
LGE managing director Jan Parkinson said: “Local government want equal pay within their workforce and are working hard to achieve it and it is extremely encouraging that more than half of all councils have got the job done. Providing a fair settlement on equal pay remains an urgent issue for local councils who must act in the best interests of local tax payers as well as all staff."
She warned that there will "some implications to some services in some councils" despite the work that they are doing to mitigate the effects.
“Councils have been hamstrung in their ability to deliver on equal pay agreements as no-win no-fee lawyers have been holding up the process for many years. No win-no fee lawyers have not served any useful purpose and instead have clogged up the tribunal system causing severe delays to claims and cost taxpayers more money in bureaucracy," she said.
LGE revealed that 47% of councils have now completed pay reviews compared with around 34% last year.