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The Equality Act 2010 and previously the Equal Pay Act aims to eliminate discrimination in relation to pay and other terms and conditions between men and women in the same employment. You may have an equal pay claim where you are paid less or have less favourable terms and conditions in your employment contract than what is known a ‘comparator’. A comparator is someone who does:
• Like work, that is work that is the same or a broadly similar nature
• Work rated that is rated as equivalent. This could be in jobs that a job evaluation study has shown to have an equal value.
• Work of equal value - this is where the work done is equal in terms of the demands made on the worker such as effort, skill and decision-making.
A comparator must be a current or former employee of the complainant’s employer or an employer that is associated with that employer.
Many people believe that an equal pay claim only applies to actual pay, however this is not accurate. Under the Equality Act the concept of pay includes both actual pay and other terms and conditions of pay including: bonus payments holidays and sick leave. EU law has also extended the concept of pay to include redundancy payments, travel concessions, employers’ pension contributions and occupational pension benefits. This means that you may still have an equal pay claim where a man and a woman receive the same basic rate of pay, but other benefits are not provided equally.
If you are receiving less pay within the above meaning than a comparator who is doing equal work, your employer must be able to show that the difference in pay is due to a genuine material factor other than the difference in sex. The onus is on the employer to show that such a factor exists and also that this is the true reason for the difference in pay. Some example may be that certain specific roles attract a higher rate of pay due to forces in the market. Whilst the work may seem to fit the criteria for light work the comparators role may actually require certain skills, experience or qualifications. The employer must then show that the pay difference is genuinely due to this factor.
Whether you are an employee or an employer in need of advice in relation to a an equal pay claim or any other employment law issue in Edinburgh, Scotland. Employment Law Edinburgh's team of specialist Employment solicitors can help. To get in touch, you can either call us on 0131 516 7728 or complete our enquiry form.