THE RIGHT TO EQUAL PAY
The right to equal pay and equal contractual terms is set out in s66(1) of the Equality Act 2010. The Act works by putting an ‘equality term’ into employment contracts.
An equality term says that:
– where an employee does work that is equal to that of a comparable person of the opposite sex, but
– their terms of employment are not as good, then
– their terms of employment will be changed to correct that imbalance (so, for example, if a female employee is being paid less than a male employee for doing equal work, an Employment Tribunal may order the employer to pay both employees the same, and direct the employer to issue back pay to the female employee).
Jobs can have different titles and still be work of “equal value”. Whether or not two jobs are equal depends on things like the type of work, the training or skills necessary to do the job, the conditions of work and the decision-making the work requires.
EQUAL PAY – SUCCESSFUL CASES
The first equal pay case in the UK was in 1988, when Julie Hayward, a shipyard cook, argued successfully that she should be awarded the same pay as her male shipyard colleagues. Click here to see a video about the case. There have been a number of successful cases over the last ten years against public authorities by cooks, cleaners, caterers and classroom assistants, who have argued that their work is of equal value to refuse collectors, street cleaners, road workers and gravediggers.
EQUAL PAY RESOURCES
Citizens Advice Bureau (www.citizensadvice.org.uk)
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is an organisation that provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities to help improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.
The CAB website offers information on discrimination because of sex. This includes advice for those who believe they are not being treated equally in terms of pay. Click here to view this information on the CAB website.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) is a public body that provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on employment law and all aspects of workplace relations.
The ACAS website contains an advice and guidance note on equal pay. Click here to view the note on the ACAS website.
Equal Pay Portal (www.equalpayportal.co.uk)
The Equal Pay Portal is an independent, objective and comprehensive resource that provides information and advice on equal pay and the gender pay gap. It was set up by Sheila Wild, a patron of equal rights who has more than 30 years experience working at the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Equality and Human Rights Commission (www.equalityhumanrights.com)
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is Great Britain’s national equality body. The Commission is an independent public body established by the Equality Act 2006 which aims to ensure the laws that protect people’s rights to fairness dignity and respect are promoted and enforced.
The Law Society (www.lawsociety.org.uk)
The Law Society is a professional association that represents, promotes and supports solicitors in England and Wales.
The Law Society website provides a practice note on the law surrounding Equal Pay. Click here to read the practice note. NB The Law Society has stated that this content is currently under review.
Pay Justice (www.payjustice.co.uk)
An organisation dedicated to fighting for equal pay and equal rights in the workplace.