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Equal pay has been in the news a lot recently. It’s not just about the huge disparity between genders when it comes to pay in certain companies and organisations. The truth is that equal pay disputes can arise irrespective of gender.
If you feel that you are on the wrong end of an equal pay dispute, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as you can. Whether you are male or female, you should expect to get the same pay as a colleague if:
- You are doing the same or broadly similar work.
- Your job has been rated under a job evaluation survey as being equivalent.
- The work you are doing is considered to be of the same value in terms of the decisions that have to be made, the skill employed or the effort put in.
If someone feels that they are doing the same job, they should reasonably expect the same pay. The employer has to show that there is some difference that justifies any disparity in wages.
Of course, this can get a little complicated. If bonuses are involved, for example, the employer needs to be clear how these are calculated. In other words, they can’t be made for any other reason than the work that has been done, and not simply because the boss pays men more than women or people in a certain department compared to another.
Pay is made up of a variety of different components in many jobs. There could be basic pay, performance related bonuses, the hours worked and add-ons such as pension schemes and holiday entitlements.
The legislation for all forms of pay disparity is covered under the Equalities Act. If there is an inequality in pay, most people will make their first move by talking it through with the employer. This, of course, depends on whether your boss is being open and is, indeed, in favour of the idea of equal pay. In a larger corporation, this can be a more formal process and there is a lot more transparency (though, as in the case of the BBC recently, it doesn’t mean that a pay disparity will be addressed or rectified).
For small to medium size business, getting to the truth about equal pay can be more difficult because they don’t have the appropriate process in place for investigating and putting things right.
Equal pay claims or disputes work by choosing a comparator. That’s the person that you should be paid the same as because you do the same or an equivalent job. The first step is to write to the employer and ask if there is a difference in pay and why this is. Obviously, most people don’t want to go running to a tribunal because of the time and the cost, so trying to resolve things informally first of all is advisable.
If this doesn’t work, however, then it’s time to start a formal grievance procedure. This is about the time you really need to start getting some sound legal advice. It helps to sit down with a third party to find out if you have a case at all and what your next steps should be.
At Forster Dean, we’ve got a team of sympathetic and highly trained employment solicitors who will be able to talk you through all the options available. Whether it’s because of gender discrimination or another reason, you should be expect get equal pay for equal work. And we’re here to help set things right.
Contact us today if you want to discuss your situation.