A Guide to Making an Equal Pay Claim

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Equal Pay Claim
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By law, men and women must receive equal pay from an employer for doing ‘equal work’. This is work that equal pay law classes as the same, similar, equivalent, or of equal value. In a case where you are not receiving the same pay or terms and conditions as other employees of the opposite sex, our employment solicitors can help you make an equal pay claim.

What is an Equal Pay Claim?

By law, men and women must get equal pay for doing ‘equal work’. However, equal pay does not just refer to your wage but also encompasses all forms of payment such as:

  • Basic salary
  • Basic wages
  • Overtime rates
  • Working hours
  • Overtime pay
  • Sick pay
  • Bonuses
  • Commission
  • Annual leave allowances
  • Holiday pay
  • Redundancy pay-outs
  • Pensions

Inequality in pay is not just tied to remuneration but also encompasses all contractual terms and conditions. This includes:

  • Annual leave entitlement
  • Fringe benefits (such as a company car, or gym membership
  • Performance targets

You may be eligible to make claim if you are paid less than an ‘equal worker’ of the opposite sex. In addition, under the 2010 Act, you may be able to claim sex discrimination. This is if you have been treated unfairly at work due to your gender.

Who Can Make an Equal Pay Claim?

Under the 2010 Act, you have the right to make an equal pay claim if you are:

  • A worker
  • An employee
  • An apprentice
  • Self-employed but have been hired by a company
  • A Full-time, part-time, or temporary contract worker
  • An agency worker

There is no required period that you need to have worked for your employer before you can make a claim. You can make a claim if you are:

  • working part-time,
  • working full time,
  • or if you’re in a temporary contract of employment.

The law also applies to both male and female workers. However, to make an equal pay claim, you must be able to show that there is someone at work of the opposite work who is getting more money or benefits from better terms and conditions for equal work.

What Counts as Equal Work?

‘Equal work’ is, by law:

  • Like work
    Where the job and skills are the same or very similar. Additionally, any differences there are do not of practical importance.
  • Equivalent work
    Usually applying for a fair job evaluation.
  • Equal value work
    This is where the work is not similar, but it is of equal value. This is due to the demands made on the worker and their effort, skills, and decision-making.

What Do I Have to Prove to Make an Equal Pay Claim?

The begin with, if you believe you are not receiving equal pay, you should check your pay against your peers. Start by looking at how much basic pay, overtime, or commissions you get compared to your colleagues. In addition, you should check the pay and contractual benefits of employees of the opposite sex who are doing ‘equal work’. You can ask your colleagues how much they earn or what their benefits are if you believe there are grounds to suspect inequal pay due to gender. However, your peers may not wish to disclose this information to you, as they are not obliged to do so.

The next step, if you believe you may have an equal pay claim, is to speak to your employer. This is to get general information about other employees’ pay and contractual benefits. Your employer can’t share personal details about other employees due to the data protection law. Despite this, you can ask your employer for information regarding how much people of the opposite sex earn who do the same work or similar work as you. In addition, you can ask about the terms and conditions under which people of the opposite sex work, along with reasons for differences in pay and benefits, if there are any.

We recommend that if you are going to approach your employer about ‘equal pay’ you should raise the issue in writing and ask your employer to write a written response.

When is Inequal Pay Allowed?

If pay is not equal for employees doing the same work or work of equal value, your employer is breaking the law unless they can show a legitimate material reason for the difference in pay. The difference must not discriminate against you or the basis of your sex.

In some cases, someone at work may be paid more than you even if you are doing the same or similar work that has nothing to do with your sex.  An example of this may be if your employer argues that it was necessary to pay the other employee more because of a skill shortage. For an employer to claim this, they will need to prove that there have been difficulties recruiting and retraining staff to do the job being done by the person who is getting paid more. Another example might include someone working unsocial hours or night shifts. Additionally, geographical locations can make a difference in pay, such as being paid more if you live in London to reflect the higher cost of living there.

Whether or not your employer is breaking the law for paying employers doing the same or similar work different pay, is dependent on the individual case. However, if your employer fails to provide a reason for the difference in pay or favourable terms in the contracts, your equal pay claim should succeed. We recommend getting in touch with our team of expert employment solicitors who can lead you through the next steps to take.

How to Make an Equal Pay Claim

When making an equal pay claim you should speak to your employer first to try to resolve the issue. If you cannot resolve the issue with your employer, the next step is to make a formal grievance in writing using your employer’s internal grievance process. If you have any evidence to support your grievance, you should share this with your employer. However, you do not need to name any other employees who have provided evidence.

If the matter cannot be resolved internally, our employment solicitors will help you with your tribunal claim. It is important to follow your grievance procedure first as a failure to do will be considered by the tribunal.

In addition, you are required to inform ACAS that you are intending to bring a claim. ACAS will invite you to participate in the ACAS early conciliation procedure. There is no obligation to go through the early conciliation procedure, but it can help resolve matters with your employer outside of the courts.

How Long Do I Have to Make an Equal Pay Claim?

If you no longer work for your employer, you have six months from the date after your employment ended to lodge an equal pay claim with the tribunal. However, a claim in the civil courts can be issued at any time within a period of six years.

What Evidence Do You Need to Make an Equal Pay Claim?

To evidence an equal pay claim, you must show that your contractual terms and conditions are worse than someone’s else because of your sex. To do this you must be able to prove you’re not getting the same benefits as someone else who does the same or similar work or similar work to you who is the opposite sex.

You must decide who you want to have as your “comparator.” This person can work for the employer, previously worked for the employer or be your predecessor. Additionally, our employment solicitors can help you make a claim for more than one person.

When making a claim, the comparator does not have to support your claim or agree with it, but you must name them.

When the employment tribunal assesses your case, they will consider the following factors:

  • Whether you are doing equal work compared to a comparator.
  • If there are any differences in pay and contractual terms and conditions between you and a comparator.

If you can prove that you’re receiving less pay than your comparator, then it’s up to your employer to prove this is due to a non-discriminatory material factor. If any material factor only accounts for part of the difference in pay, your claim may still be upheld for the differences attributable to your sex.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Equal Pay Claim?

If you are in a position where someone else of the opposite sex is getting better pay or terms and conditions than you when you are doing work of equal value, you can be eligible to make an equal pay claim.

It is illegal for an employer to pay different wages for someone doing the same or an equal value job. This is unless the reason for the discrepancy has nothing to do with someone’s sex. If you are receiving different ways and terms and conditions than someone who is doing work of equal value, you may be eligible to make an equal pay claim.

Can You Be Paid Less for Doing the Same Job?

In most cases, if you are doing the same job or a similar job to someone else you should receive equal pay to them regardless of gender. However, in some situations such as geographical locations, additional skills or extra responsibilities, wages may have discrepancies.

How to Make an Equal Pay Claim UK?

You have six months from the date your employment ended to put a claim to the employment tribunal. Therefore, we recommend getting in touch with our employment solicitors as soon as you can.

How Much is Equal Pay Compensation?  

If the court upholds your claim, you may be entitled to:

- Receive the same pay and contractual benefits as your comparator(s)

- Receive compensation from your employer for any pay you have missed as well as interest. The maximum period in which arrears can be awarded is usually six years prior to the date of proceedings.

As a result, by making an equal pay claim, you can receive equality in addition to a potentially large sum of back pay.

Make a Claim with AWH’s Employment Solicitors

AWH’s employment solicitors specialise in equal pay matters including tribunal claims. By seeking the legal help of our solicitors before you proceed with any claims, our employment team can assess your individual case to help you proceed to get the best outcome for your claim. Additionally, our employment team will make you aware of any additional claims you may also wish to make such as a sex discrimination claim. Our team will lead you through each step of what can be a complex area of employment law.

Employment law is constantly being updated as it reacts to the ever-changing economy, new technological advancements, and verdicts on tribunal cases throughout the country. Because of this, it can feel like a minefield if you’re looking for justice. With our employment team on your side, your equal pay claim will be a lot more straightforward. Contact our employment solicitors today or request a call back to discuss your case. Our solicitors are regulated by the solicitors regulation authority (SRA).

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