Do you have an equal pay claim? We can help!
Background to Equal Pay:
Men and women working in the UK have been entitled to receive equal pay for equal work since the 1970s.
A difference in pay received by men and women working in the UK has been highlighted in the media recently, due to new law that requires some employers to disclose what they pay men and women.
Although the statistics are not always entirely clear, a picture has emerged that women are generally paid less than men in the UK. However, the reasons for this are not straightforward.
The gender pay gap that exists between men and women in the UK, in certain businesses, is complex and points to the fact that men and women sometimes have different educational backgrounds, different roles in the workplace and different working patterns, rather than the fact that men and women are frequently paid less for the same work.
This page addresses the right to equal pay for equal work which, as noted above, is something that has been a legal requirement in the UK for a number of years.
What is equal pay?
This is the right for men and women to receive equal pay for work that, broadly speaking, is of equal value.
Whether work is of equal value depends on a number of complex factors, including:
- The degree of responsibility – for example, whether you are responsible for managing other staff or meeting lots of deadlines and targets.
- The demands that the job places on you – for example, if you need to work lengthy or anti-social hours.
- The qualifications required for the role.
- The skills and experience required to perform the role effectively.
It can be difficult to assess whether performing in your job involves work that is, broadly, equivalent to that of the employee that you are concerned is being paid more. The answer is often not clear-cut, and it may be helpful for you to speak to a specialist employment solicitor in order to assess whether the other employee’s job requires equivalent skills and experience as your job, in more detail.
Who can bring a claim for equal pay?
An equal pay claim can be brought by men or women. Historically, women have brought more equal pay claims then men, because the law was introduced to make it illegal for employers to pay women less for doing work that was the same as their male colleagues. This used to be a significant problem in the UK. However, this picture may change over time.
Equal pay cases can be brought where you know of a colleague who:
- Is a different gender to you.
- Is a current or former employee of the organisation that you work for.
- Has been working in a role that is equivalent to yours. This final point can be quite difficult to assess, and will require more detailed legal advice.
What will I receive if I successfully bring a claim for equal pay?
If your equal pay claim is successful, the employment tribunal will make a declaration, and you should receive a pay increase.
Depending on the circumstances of your claim, you may also be entitled to receive back pay covering a period of up to six years before you brought your equal pay claim. In some circumstances, you might receive back pay for a longer period. An employment law solicitor should be able to provide you with more specific advice about the period of time over which you can claim back pay.
What should I do if I believe that I have a claim for equal pay?
Navya Shekhar, Head of Employment at Truth Legal, advises that:
“As for any employment related claim, if you are worried that an employee of the opposite gender is being paid more for equal work, you should act quickly to seek legal advice.
Claims for equal pay are quite unusual, as there is no discretion for the employment tribunal to extend the time limit for you to bring your equal pay claim if the relevant deadline has passed.
If you are still working for the employer where you suspect that an equal pay issue may exist, there is less pressure to act quickly, as, generally, you can bring a claim at any time that you work for your employer.
However, if you have left your employment, a time limit of six months may apply, and it is important to act quickly to make sure that you aren’t prevented from bringing a claim because too much time has passed.
Equal pay claims involve quite complex analysis to show that there is a difference in pay between you and the co-worker that you suspect is being paid more than you for equal work. This means that expert evidence may be required, in order to assess the merits of your claim.
Equal pay claims can, potentially, sit alongside other employment-related claims such as claims for sex discrimination. A solicitor will be able to advise you more fully about the types of claims that you might be able to bring.”
How will I fund my claim?
You might be concerned about how you will be able to fund your equal pay claim.
Truth Legal can discuss your options with you. One or more of the following options might be available for you.
- No Win No Fee Agreement:
One option is to agree a “no win, no fee agreement” with Truth Legal. We will be able to talk to you about the merits of your equal pay claim early on. We will also be able to explain the basis on which we can advise you, so you will have a clear understanding about your legal costs. It might be that you are aware of other people who also want to bring an equal pay claim at the same time – this might influence whether we offer a No Win, No Fee agreement.
- Legal Expenses Insurance:
Another option is to purchase Legal Expenses Insurance which may provide cover for the costs of legal advice and bringing a court case, if you decide to do this. Usually you would need to have the policy of insurance before you needed to use it, though always check the policy wording.
Truth Legal can advise you about the type of legal expenses insurance that it most likely to be relevant to you. We regularly act under Legal Expenses Insurance at no, or very little, costs to our clients.
- Fixed fee work
We can usually offer fixed fee work. This means that we will agree a price to get you to a particular point in your claim. Additional work can always be undertaken. Fixed fees allow clients to know precisely where they are up to and is very popular.
- Low hourly rated work
Like most law firms, we can also accept instructions, charging you an hourly rate. We are proud to offer lower rates for such work. We will estimate the costs to get to you to particular points in your claim. We appreciate that even low hourly rates can seem very expensive.
Finding out more information
If you would like more information on claiming discrimination compensation, or you wish to discuss your situation, contact us today. Call us on 01423 788 538 and get 15 minutes FREE advice from an employment expert.
Let us help you to claim the compensation you deserve.