How can a woman who is doing a different job with a different job title, claim the same amount of pay (equal pay) as a man who is working a different job with a different job title?
The purpose of the Equality Act 2010 (previously the Equal Pay Act) is to eliminate discrimination as regards pay and other terms and conditions between men and women in the same employment. It allows pay comparisons to be made if a worker of the opposite sex is paid more and they do.
What is 'like work'?
Like work is work that is the same or broadly similar to that being done by the man or men with whom the woman is comparing herself, judged by the nature of the work actually done by the jobholders, rather than on the basis of a job description or job title.
What is 'work of equal value'?
An equal pay claim for work of equal value means that the work the woman does, although different from that being done by the man or men with whom she is comparing herself, is of equal value in terms of the demands made on her. Therefore, though the jobs may be different (such as a shop floor assistant comparing herself to a warehouse assistant) the jobs can be regarded as being of equal worth, having regard to the nature of the work performed, the training or skills necessary to do the job, the conditions of work and the decision-making that is part of the role.
What is 'work rated as equivalent'?
A woman’s work can also be rated as equivalent to a man’s. This is where an independent analytical job evaluation study has been carried out within the workforce by job evaluation specialists and they find that the work done by women is of equal value to the work done by the men by reference to factors such as effort, skill and decision-making.
Can my employer justify paying me less than another employee of the opposite sex?
If you are not receiving equal pay to a comparator who is doing equal work, the employer has to justify that the difference in pay is genuinely due to a material factor other than the difference in sex. It is for the employer to show that such a factor exists and it is the real reason for the difference.
For example, in some circumstances the operation of market forces may justify a difference in pay, such as the need to recruit for particular jobs or the need to retain employees occupying particular jobs. The employer must also show that all of the difference of pay is genuinely attributable to that factor.
How do you determine whether there is unequal pay?
For the purposes of the Equality Act, the concept of pay includes both pay as well as other terms and conditions – particularly bonus payments but also for example holidays and sick leave. European law has extended the concept to include redundancy payments, travel concessions, employers’ pension contributions and occupational pension benefits.
This means that there may still be a breach of the principle of equal pay where a man and a woman receive the same basic rate of pay, but other benefits (such as performance bonus, company car, private health care etc) are not provided on an equal basis. The Equality Act applies to any difference in pay or benefits provided by the contract of employment.
What is a comparator?
In order to bring a claim, a complainant must choose an actual comparator of the opposite sex who is treated more favourably and is shown to be employed on “like work”, “work rated as equivalent”, or “work of equal value”. The comparator must be a current or previous employee of the complainant’s employer or an associated employer.