Is it Illegal to Pay Different Wages for the Same Job?

Author:
Stephen Pinder
Partner, Employment Law Solicitor
Date:
30/01/2020

No it is not, and across England and Wales it is common for workers to do the same basic jobs, but receive a different wage. This difference in pay could be based on each employee’s levels of skill and experience. Although it could cause some friction within the workplace, it doesn’t mean you have a claim for Equal Pay.

There are some circumstances where there are lawful reasons to make an Equal Pay claim. You can bring your claim under the Equality Act if you are receiving a different level of pay based on unlawful reasons. In many cases that could be because of your gender.

There’s a long history of women pursuing claims for Equal Pay, based on these conditions:

  • They are doing ‘like work’ to male workers
  • They are doing work which is of equal value to male workers in terms of effort, skill or decision making
  • Their job has been rated as equivalent through a job evaluation scheme.

If you think you are being paid differently based on your gender, or other unlawful factor, you should speak to a specialist Employment Law Solicitor. They can tell you if you have a legal basis for an Equal Pay claim and help you make your claim at an Employment Tribunal.

For free initial legal advice call our Employment Solicitors. Ask if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

‘Like work’ means that you are doing work which is essentially the same as that of the person you’re comparing.

Our Employment Solicitors helped a female employee make an Equal Pay claim when she found out that she was getting about 20% less than all of her male colleagues, even though they were doing basically the same job and had the same skills. The Equal Pay claim was based upon ‘like work’. We’re waiting for the Employment Tribunal judgment, which is due any day now.

Claims for doing work of equal value are more complex. This is because you are not doing the same work role so the comparison is much more difficult.

Equal value pay claims have been common across Local Authorities and within the NHS. This is because historically male dominant work groups tended to have higher hourly rates for work, and more generous bonus schemes. As a result, many thousands of equal value pay claims have been successful.

Finally, you can make an Equal Pay claim if jobs have been rated as equivalent through a job evaluation scheme. These claims are rare though because when the job evaluation is completed, most employers accept that they are obligated to make wages the same.

If you think that you may have an Equal Pay claim, please contact one of our specialist Employment Law Solicitors for free initial advice.

Am I Getting Equal Pay?

There are a number of ways to find out if you are getting Equal Pay. These include:

  • Asking your employer to disclose this information
  • Checking job adverts in your workplace
  • Ask other members of staff doing the same job.

If you make an Equal Pay claim, your employer is legally obligated to disclose this information.

Recently, the UK Government has introduced a gender pay audit, which is mainly for large employers currently. This gender pay audit makes employers provide details of different rates of pay for different genders across the whole workforce. Although this audit does not focus on individual employees, it will give you a good idea if you are being treated lawfully. 

It can be difficult to raise issues of pay at work, but greater openness would lead to people understanding if they are being treated fairly.

During the latest General Election campaign, there was some discussion around Equal Pay and it may mean that employers will be obliged to provide more information about gender pay related issues, including providing specific information when requested.

Gender is not always the reason why someone is getting lower pay when compared to other workers. Our Employment Lawyers are acting for an older worker who believes that he has received lower levels of pay and bonus because of his age. Because age is a Protected Characteristic under the Equality Act, a claim for Equal Pay can be pursued.

Equal Pay legislation also covers benefits including overtime, bonus rates and any other work related benefits such as annual leave or other similar terms.

What Can I Do about Pay Inequality?

It’s important to understand whether you are receiving Equal Pay and if not, what the reasons are.

Getting specialist legal advice from an experienced Employment Lawyer will help you understand if you have a have a claim and be clear about any time limits on making a claim.

You can make a claim for Equal Pay at any time during your employment and if you’ve already left, you only have six months from when your employment ended.

Any compensation that you are entitled to can be recovered for the previous six years, along with any period after the Employment Tribunal claim has been started. This means you can claim for a significant period of time to address your pay inequality which can amount to a large amount of compensation. 

If you think that you have an Equal Pay claim, call and speak to one of our specialist Employment Law Solicitors who are happy to help you.

For free initial legal advice call our Employment Solicitors

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