Our expert factsheet on equal pay in Belfast - Paul Doran Law

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Our expert factsheet on equal pay in Belfast

Our expert factsheet on equal pay in BelfastOur expert factsheet on equal pay in Belfast

As you may know, our main office is just outside Belfast (we also have offices in Newcastle, Leeds and London), and one of the areas we specialise in is equal pay.

In this expert factsheet, we provide you with a Q&A overview and share an equal pay case study from Glasgow.

Equal pay Q&A overview

Q. Which law governs equal pay?
A. The Equal Pay Act 1970  (it is the Equality Act 2010 in GB).

Q. What does equal pay legislation provide?
A. You should be paid the same as a person of the opposite sex doing similar or equal work for the same or an associated employer – unless there is a good reason for the difference.

Q. What reasons count as ‘good’?
A. There are various reasons why someone might justifiably be paid more than you, such as:

Q. What’s included in the definition of ‘pay’?
A. Your wages, plus any overtime, holiday pay, pension, non-discretionary bonuses, company car, health insurance etc.

Q. What about discretionary benefits?
A. As with pay, discretionary benefits should be the same for male and female workers, but they are covered by anti-discrimination law, not equal pay law.

Q. Who is protected by equal pay law?
A. Men and women who work as employees, workers or apprentices. Also, some self-employed people.

Q. What is a comparator?
A. To make a claim, you need to identify one or more people in the same or associated employment as you, but on better pay and terms terms, doing:

Q. What if I can’t identify a comparator?
If you can prove you would have been paid more if you were the opposite sex, you can rely on a “hypothetical comparator” and make a claim for direct sex discrimination.

Q. What information do I need to make an equal pay claim?
A. There are various bits of information you’ll need to collect:

Q. What might my employer say?
A. They might make various arguments in response to your claim:

Q. How do I make a claim?
A. Here’s the usual process to follow:

Q. What happens when an equal pay claim succeeds?
A. Your contract will include an equality clause to ensure it’s the same as your comparator/s, and the tribunal may order your employer to pay all the arrears you’re due.

Glasgow equal pay ruling

After a round of equal pay awards, Glasgow City Council implemented a job evaluation scheme designed to make different roles comparable to each another.

Certain ‘red-circled’ staff, typically men, would see their pay fall because of the changes. So the Council implemented a pay protection system which safeguarded their bonuses for three years. This meant the men’s overall remuneration would be higher than women performing equivalent roles.

As a result, unions including Unison and GMB Scotland and other claimants represented by Stefan Cross, brought an equal pay claim – and won, because the ring-fencing policy discriminated against women. The Council appealed, but the decision was upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Session.

The case could affect up to 6,000 female workers, with claims dating back to 2006.

What this means for you

Your employer should take care to ensure their pay schemes and policies are applied fairly. If they don’t, you may be able to make a claim against them. We can help with this.

Related reading – Equal pay in Belfast

For further information on this topic, you might find our other articles useful:

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