Let’s talk about equal pay

Monday 18th September is International Equal Pay Day 2023. Get expert advice on equal pay to protect and prepare your business this International Equal Pay Day and beyond…

First published on Friday, Sep 15, 2023

Last updated on Monday, Sep 18, 2023

5 min read

On average 80% of UK employers pay men more than women.(1) That’s a dismal statistic for 2023!

International Equal Pay Day represents efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value.

Plus, did you know if your business has over 250 employees, you’re required by law to publish your gender pay gap figures?

According to recent figures, the UK national average gender pay gap is 9.4%, meaning that women typically earn 91p for each £1 earned by a man.(3)

And it's not just the UK that’s affected by unequal pay:across the globe the gender pay gap is estimated at around 20%.(2) So, it’s clear there's still work to be done.

In the UK, men and women are legally required to get equal pay for work that is considered "equal" in terms of similarity, equivalence, or value.

This means you can’t pay an employee less than another employee of the opposite sex who is doing equal work for you — or you might be taken to tribunal.

So, what can you do to make sure your business embraces equal pay and stays in line with equality laws?

Equal pay and the law

Equal pay law is covered under the Equality Act 2010 and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) statutory code of practice. But it’s not just pay that the law applies to.

You’re also required to offer equal contractual terms and conditions, like annual leave allowance, benefits, and performance-based bonuses.

So, how can you make sure you pay your staff equally and fairly?

To reduce your risk of unequal pay, it’s best practice to:

  • Have an equal pay policy in place to protect your people and your business.
  • Make sure your job descriptions are up-to-date and accurate.
  • Check that your job titles are the same, no matter the sex of your employee.
  • Provide better training for hiring staff to reduce pay discrimination from the start.
  • Establish fair pay scales or pay grades for each of your roles based on the position, level of responsibility, and experience.
  • Use a salary calculator tool to keep your pay offering equal and at market rate.
  • Promote pay transparency to build trust and help close the gender pay gap.

And equal pay isn’t just important for legal reasons…

Paying staff equally in your business can improve your reputation, increase staff motivation and productivity, and form a key part of your social responsibility and culture — which are two very important priorities for job seekers which make your company more attractive.

Remember, ignoring important employee rights like equal pay has risks for your business…

If one of your employees feels they’re not getting equal pay, they may be able to take legal action against you.

They could make a claim to an employment tribunal for equal pay or make a claim for sex discrimination, so it’s best to take action before you find yourself in the worst-case scenario.

Our 24/7 employment law advice line, BrightAdvice, is the ideal solution to ** give you peace of mind.** You can get ** quick and reliable** advice from our team of experts who are always ready to help you stay on the right side of the law.

Want to speak to one of our friendly advisors to find out how ** BrightAdvice** can protect your business? Book a free demo today.

Have more questions on equal pay or something else?

We’ve got thousands of answers to all your HR and health & safety dilemmas.

Ask BrightLightning:

Who has the right to equal pay?

Equal pay applies to all employees, workers, self-employed people who are hired to personally do the work, apprentices, and agency staff. This includes workers on a full-time, part-time, or temporary contract.

What is equal pay?

Equal pay is when employees are given the same wage as someone doing the same/similar work or work of equal value. This is most commonly raised due to male and female employees being paid differently but can apply to any situation when there are differences in employees' pay.

What is a comparator for equal pay?

When someone asks for equal pay, they have to claim for pay which is equal to that of someone else. This person is the comparator. Employees can make a claim for equal pay with one or several comparators and on different grounds. For example, the employee might compare earnings with one because they do similar work and another because their work is of equal value.

Ask another question…

(1) Eight out of ten firms pay men more than women - BBC News

(2) International Equal Pay Day | United Nations

(3) Equal pay day: What is the gender pay gap like where you are? - BBC News

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