Equal Pay and the Equal Pay Act 1970
The Equal Pay Act 1970 (EPA) and The Equality Act 2010 provide employees with the right to equal pay when compared with employees of the opposite gender. The employee of the opposite gender being compared (i.e. the 'comparator') can either be an actual employee who is either working in the same premises/branch or working at a different branch for the same employer within Great Britain, or a hypothetical comparator.
The employee alleging unequal pay and using an actual employee as a comparator must prove that they are employed in ‘like work’ (i.e. work that is the same or broadly similar to that of the comparator) or in work which has been rated as equivalent in a job evaluation study to that of the comparator, or in work which is of equal value to that of the comparator in terms of, for example, decision making, effort, and skill. Where a hypothetical comparator is being used, the employee effectively needs to show that they would have received higher pay had they been of the opposite sex.
To successfully defend an equal pay claim, the employer needs to show that:-
- Where an actual employee is being used as a comparator, the work is not like work, not rated as equal, and not of equal value;
or prove that:
- Where an actual employee is being used as a comparator, the difference in pay between the Claimant and the comparator is attributable to a reason unrelated to the gender of the two and that that reason justifies the difference in pay. Where a hypothetical comparator is being used, the employer needs to either show that it is not the case that the employee would have received high pay had they been of the opposite sex, or that if they had, then the reason for the difference is unrelated to gender and that that reason justifies the difference.
What To Do Should You Wish To Bring An Equal Pay Claim
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