How our equal pay disputes specialists can help

equal pay disputes frequently asked questions

Employers should pay male and female employees equally if their roles fall under one of the following categories:
  • ‘Like work’ – work that is either exactly the same or very similar. Any differences in the job role must not be significant. It matters what the actual day-to-day job role is as opposed to what is detailed in the job description. So, even if the job description differs, if the role in reality does not, this can be seen as comparable.
  • ‘Work rated as equivalent’ – work that is rated the same according to job evaluation schemes. This is where the job itself may be different, with varying tasks and priorities, but is rated as equivalent in job evaluation schemes. Work rated as equivalent includes a broad selection of roles, so it’s always best to seek advice if you feel you’re at an unfair disadvantage regarding this.
  • ‘Work of equal value’ – where job roles have equal demands, but the work is different. It is worth noting that this is the most difficult heading to bring a claim for equal pay.
It may be worth speaking with your employer in the first instance. A reminder that they have to pay you equally could work, and would prevent you needing to take any further legal action. But this isn’t always the case, and you may find that speaking with your employer doesn’t solve anything. In which case, you may decide to bring an equal pay claim.
To bring an equal pay claim, you need to determine a ‘comparator’, or ‘comparators’ of the opposite sex. The comparator is essentially your proof of receiving unequal pay, and needs to be or have been employed by your employer. The comparator does not necessarily need to work in the same location as you; many businesses have hubs in different parts of the UK, so in this instance your employer would need to outline the terms and conditions of your differing locations.
This is a decision that needs to be made carefully. It’s important to consider as many people as possible to ensure you have a strong case for your claim. Remember, there is no limit on the number of comparators you can choose, but your claim will become complicated the more comparators you name. Note: You cannot point to hypothetical comparators with equal pay claims. You must be able to point to an actual person, otherwise your claim will not be valid. However, if you feel you’re being discriminated against due to your sex, with this being the reason you believe is behind your unequal contractual pay, you can bring a sex discrimination claim without a physical comparator. This is set out under the Equality Act 2010. After you have proved that your work is ‘equal work’ to that of your comparator’s, your employer must substantiate that the reason for unequal pay does not relate to your sex.
It’s widely known that equal pay claims can be of high value, as you could be entitled to backdated pay for up to six years, starting from the date your claim is raised. However, it is important that you prove you were doing ‘equal work’ for those six years.

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