Editor's message: Equal pay is not about the fairness of pay, but about men and women receiving equal pay when they are doing equal work. Equal pay is different from the gender pay gap, which measures the differences between the average pay of male and female employees, irrespective of job role or seniority.
The Equality Act 2010 aims to achieve the objective of equal pay by implying an equality clause into all contracts of employment. This gives each employee a contractual right to receive equal pay with a comparator of the opposite sex who is doing equal work.
“Pay” is not limited to salary and covers other contractual terms and conditions. This means that, even if you pay your male and female employees the same for the same work, their pay will not be equal if other benefits that you provide under their contract of employment are different for men and women.
Employers can minimise the risk of an equal pay claim if they have transparent and structured pay and benefit policies that are reviewed regularly to check for any pay disparities between men and women.
Fiona Cuming, employment law editor
HR and legal information and guidance relating to equal pay.