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Equal pay

Updating author: Tina McKevitt


  • The right to equal pay for equal work for men and women is derived from European legislation and from the Equality Act 2010. Men and women are entitled to equal pay with each other, although in practice it is usually women who claim the right. (See Overview)
  • Equal pay is achieved by implying a sex equality clause into every employee's contract of employment. (See Sex equality clause)
  • The definition of "employed" under the Equality Act 2010 is broader than under unfair dismissal law as it includes workers (See Who is protected?)
  • The right to equal pay is engaged when an employee is employed on work that is equal to the work done by a comparator of the opposite sex. (See The comparator)
  • An employee's work is equal to that of their comparator if it is like work, work rated as equivalent or work of equal value. (See Equal work)
  • An employer will have a defence to an equal pay claim if it can prove that the reason for the pay inequality is due to a material factor that of itself is not direct sex discrimination or indirect sex discrimination. (See Material factor defence)
  • An employee bringing an equal pay claim in the employment tribunal must do so within a specified time limit. (See Time limits for tribunal claims)
  • It is possible for an employee to bring an equal pay claim in the civil court as a claim for breach of contract. (See Equal pay claims in the civil courts)
  • If the equal pay claim is upheld, the tribunal will make the appropriate order to remedy the breach of the equality clause. (See Remedies)
  • Although pay systems reviews are not required by law unless ordered by an employment tribunal, the Equality and Human Rights Commission says that they are the most appropriate method of ensuring that a pay system delivers equal pay free from sex bias. (See Equality and Human Rights Commission's recommended equal pay audit models)