The Equality Act 2010, which has replaced the Equal Pay Act 1970, requires that men and women should receive equal pay for carrying out equal work and also work that is rated as being of equal value and must have equal treatment in the terms and conditions of their contracts of employment which are usually called, “equality clauses”.
In order to bring an equal pay claim, an employee must show that a ‘comparator’ e.g. another employee at the same company but of the opposite gender is carrying out like or similar work or work that has been rated as similar yet the comparator is receiving a higher rate of pay and/or bonuses and/or other more favourable terms.
If the employer is unable to provide a genuine reason for the difference in pay between the employee and their comparator that does not involve sex discrimination e.g. a material factor defence such as market forces or different skills, qualifications and experience, then the employee may bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal whilst still working for the employer or for up to 6 months after leaving the job or starting a new job or a new contract of employment with the same employer. If the employee’s claim for equal pay is successful, the employee will be awarded back-dated pay including sick pay, holiday pay and bonuses if relevant for a period of up to 6 years.