The principle of Equal Pay is a straightforward one. Under the Equality Act 2010, men and women in the same employment performing equal work must receive equal pay, unless any difference in pay can be justified.
It is quite a simple principle, but in practice it involves meeting quite a number of requirements. An employee has to prove that they did equal work, or work of equal value. There have been recent case considerations as to what equal work is; for example, are cashiers and delivery drivers providing equal work in a supermarket?
A difficulty employers face is that, if the work is of equal value, and they can’t justify that difference, the burden of proof falls on the employer to prove that the pay gap isn’t because of gender. That’s quite a difficult thing to prove.
As an example, Samira Ahmed won a case for equal pay at the BBC, where it was proven that she was underpaid by £700,000 (more than six times less) when compared with Jeremy Vine’s pay for a similar show. The BBC failed to prove that the pay gap wasn’t because of sex discrimination. One of the BBC’s attempts to demonstrate different skills was that Mr Vine had a “glint in his eye”. The Tribunal found that they “had difficulty in understanding what the respondent meant and how that translated into a ‘skill’ or ‘experience’ to do a job”.
How we can help employers
Our Team have experience in advising employers (in both the public and private sector) on equal pay claims.
If you are accused of failing to pay employees equally, this is a complex area and we advise that you contact us promptly. If you work with us under our Outsourced HR service, we pride ourselves on being proactive rather than being reactive, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help if you’re further down the line in dealing with accusations such as these. Please just get in touch.
How we can help employees
Do you think you’re being paid less than a colleague of a different sex? If so, we can assist in putting together a grievance or a Tribunal claim, to try to resolve these matters for you.
If you think Thrive Law can assist you further, get in touch today at email@example.com