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  • Writer's pictureSundeep Bhatia

Equal pay

Equal payDavid Cameron has announced plans to compel firms, with more than 250 employees, to publish details of whether they are paying male employees more than female employees.

The Legislation is expected in the first half of 2016.

In the 21st century it is only right and proper that men and women should be paid the same amount for doing the same job.

Employers can no longer rely on the veil of secrecy in order to avoid awkward conversations ,between their employees,as to why men are being paid more than women for doing the same job.

This is because,under The Equality Act 2010,it is an offence to prevent such conversations taking place.

In fact any business which does not have,and abide by,an equal pay policy, may find themselves facing a costly and embarrassing claim at the employment tribunal.

Any employee who thinks they are not receiving equal pay can write to their employer asking for information that will help them establish whether there is a pay difference and ,if so ,the reasons for the difference.

If an employee cannot resolve the problem informally ,or through the formal grievance procedure of the business,then they may complain to an employment tribunal whilst still working in the job or within six months after leaving the job to which the claim relates.

Any business which loses an equal pay claim could be forced to conduct an equal pay audit and to publish the results.

Under those circumstances it is far better for a firm to conduct its own equal pay audit and to rectify the situation before it ends in a costly, time consuming and embarrassing claim.

An equal pay policy does not automatically mean that men and women are paid the same wage.

There may be grounds to differentiate on the basis of factors such as training,education and experience ,amongst many others.

In many cases this may mean that women are paid more than men or visa versa.

The important thing is to have a coherent equal pay policy which is applied fairly to all.

Sundeep Bhatia of Beaumonde Law Practice can advise how best to do this.

Sundeep is a Member of the Employment Law Committee of The Law Society of England and Wales.

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