Equal Pay Claims cost Companies billions

Equal Pay Claims cost Companies billions

All employees are entitled to the same pay as their colleagues doing the same or a broadly similar job, or a job of equal value, regardless of gender. Equal pay is a hot topic right now with big name companies including Tesco and Asda all facing a mass of equal pay claims.

The new laws under the Equality Act 2010 require companies with over 250 employees to publish gender pay gap figures based on employee's hourly rates and bonuses, although these figures do not take into account of the nature of work carried out by those employees.

The Equality Act 2010 also contains the law in relation to equal pay, which enforces 'equal pay for equal work' and is in force to prevent gender-based pay differentials. Claims for breaches of this principle are often referred to as "equal pay claims".

Since the gender pay gap reports have been published, figures have emerged showing that companies have been underpaying their staff (mostly female) for carrying out equal work as those being paid higher wages (mostly men).

A person (A) can claim that she is entitled to equal pay with a comparator (B) if A can establish that one of the following applies:

  • A is doing like work, that is, work that is the same as, or broadly similar to, that of B;
  • A is doing work rated as equivalent, under a job evaluation scheme conducted by the employer, to that of B; or
  • A is doing work of equal value, in terms of the demands made on A, to that of B.

There are exceptions to this if it is due to a material factor which is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, which does not directly or indirectly discriminate against A because of A's gender.

Equal pay claims are complex and an employee should try to resolve the issue of equal pay through their employer's own grievance procedure before making a claim through the Tribunal Service. If, however a claim in an equal pay case is successful in the tribunal the remedy is usually the difference in pay between A and B, backdated for up to six years.

Very recently a solicitor's firm announced that it was currently pursuing a claim against Tesco and has received thousands of enquiries about claiming against their current – or previous – employer. They are also representing 20,000 workers against other supermarkets and expect this number to rise.

If you have concerns that you are being paid incorrectly in comparison to your colleagues, ask your employer to provide proof that you are being paid in accordance with the relevant parts of the Equality Act 2010.

Clapham and Collinge, we can provide the means and the legal assistance to help you, should anything be amiss. Contact us today to discuss your individual requirements in further detail, our specialist Employment Law solicitors will talk you through your options and advise on the next steps. Call 01603 693500 or email us using 'Make an enquiry' form. Appointments available at our Norwich, North Walsham and Sheringham offices.

*This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.