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.