Equal Pay

What is the law regarding equal pay

The Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) decrees that men and women performing work of equal value should receive the same pay.

What is pay?

Pay refers to any part of the pay package, terms of employment and benefits, including:

  • basic pay
  • hours of work
  • annual leave entitlement
  • employee benefits
  • overtime rates and allowances
  • bonuses
  • performance-related benefits
  • sick pay
  • severance and redundancy pay
  • access to and benefits from pension schemes
  • company cars

Who can make an equal pay claim?

The right to be paid equal pay for equal work applies to:

  • anyone classed as employed – regardless of their level, contract type (full-time, part-time, casual or temporary) or how long they have worked there;
  • workers – this would include, for example, self-employed people whose contracts require them to carry out the work personally;
  • employment conducted in Britain, or where there is a close enough link between the employment and the UK.


Someone who wants to bring an equal pay claim needs to pick another person to compare their work with (a comparator). Employers cannot veto the claimant’s choice of comparator when they make a claim. The comparator must be a real person and not hypothetical.


The comparison must be on the basis of one of the following:

  • like work
  • work of equal value
  • rated as equivalent

Like work

Where the work being done is the same as, or broadly similar to, that done by a compatator of the opposite sex. Any differences must not be of practical importance; ie, not enough to justify a pay difference.

Of equal value

Where the work of each employee is broadly similar in terms of the demands made on them. Demand factors to be considered include elements such as skill, effort, responsibility level, knowledge and working conditions.

Rated as equivalent

Where a job evaluation rates two jobs as equivalent. The job evaluation must itself be non-discriminatory. An evaluation that, for example, placed less emphasis on traits generally associated with female roles could not be used to justify treating two different jobs as not equivalent. An analytical job-evaluation process to establish equivalent jobs and jobs of equal value should be used where possible.

Unlock this article now!


For more information on:

  • Equality clauses
  • Defence
  • Time limits
  • Remedies