Should I Expect Equal Pay From My Employer?

When you work for an employer you would expect that someone who is doing the same job as you would be paid the same. However, sometimes that is not the case. Recently, 18 men won an equal pay case against their employer, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. They based their case around the fact that their employer was discriminating against them on the grounds of their gender.
So what should you expect from your employer with regards to equal pay? As an employee, you should be paid equally and treated exactly the same whether you are male or female as long as:
• You do similar or the same work
• Your work has been summarised as equivalent under a job evaluation study
• Your work is determined to be equal in skill, effort or level of decision making
Whilst it is possible to bring an employment tribunal claim against your employer if you are paid less than someone of the opposite sex who is doing the same or a similar job, your employer may be able to prove that there is another genuine reason for the difference in pay and it is nothing to do with sexual discrimination. If so, your claim may not be successful.
Equal pay is supported by the Equality Act 2010 and the legislation says that there should be equal pay for all regardless of gender. This applies to basic pay, overtime and in addition, any performance related pay, including bonuses. The law also covers hours of work, annual leave and any employment terms and conditions which are non-monetary.
So what can you do if you discover that you are not receiving equal pay? Firstly you should write to your employer and ask them to explain their position and the reasons behind the salary difference. If your employer does not respond satisfactorily, you could raise a grievance, which will need to be treated as a formal complaint. Ultimately, you may be able to take your employer to a tribunal for them to decide whether your pay is unfair.
You can do this whilst you are still in employment, as the 18 men in South Wales did, or if you have left your position, you have 6 months from when you left your job to make a claim for equal pay. You may be able to claim up to 6 years in back pay. You should seek the advice of a specialist solicitor to discuss the chances of your claim succeeding.
For more information about this article or any aspect of our employment services, please call Chris Jolly in our Westbury office on 01373 865577 or email cjolly@mulaw.co.uk  and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).