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Equal Pay? WAKE UP! It isn’t just about women!
Male and Female Pay Differentials
Member Name: writer29
Male and Female Pay Differentials
Date: 10/01/02, updated on 10/01/02 (1355 review reads)
Advantages: Open and monitored pay structures, Harmony among colleagues, addressing unfairness
Disadvantages: People often don't understand the issue
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) came into force in 1970 - over thirty years ago. It states: ‘there should be equal pay between women and men in the same employment.’
Women workers have tolerated poor pay because society has traditionally undervalued the kind of work they do. Why for instance should a dustbin man (or woman) be paid more than a qualified Nursery Nurse who nurtures the children of the future? Yet some Nursery Nurses earn less than £8,000. How are we to attract the right kind of people into these sorts of positions when the pay is so unnecessarily low?
The Act applies to the value of a role as well as equivalence in role and to people who work part time, full time or on temporary contracts. People who work part time should be paid the part time equivalent of the full time salary for the role. Its not just about women.
Equal pay is not even just about wages and salaries. It covers bonuses, overtime, shift payments, holiday pay, sick pay, performance related pay or occupational pensions and share options.
The ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ amendment to the EPA has been a significant breakthrough in addressing the value placed on caring roles as opposed to more physical ones. Because of the amendment, women in caring jobs are now able to compare themselves to male colleagues who do more physical work.
There are quite a few ways companies try to get around the Act for example:
·Appointing women on a lower rate of pay than male colleagues
·Giving women different titles and grades to those of men doing similar work
·Placing staff on individual contracts and making it an offence for them to discuss their pay rates
·Giving different company cars r>
·Denying women overtime
·Paying a woman, ethnic minority or disabled person less than someone else on promotion despite better performance
This is not exhaustive.
Some employers are known to try and use minor differences such as a man on a fish counter and a woman on the deli counter, or even a disabled person who couldn’t stand for too long when the job only required him to sit down as excuses to justify pay differentials. This is real life!
In spite of 30 years of equal pay legislation the pay gap between women and men stands at 18%. Women working full time earn approximately 80 pence for every pound earned by male full time employees. For people working part time the figure drops to 60 pence. This is comparing like with like.
Unions have had a very significant impact in raising women’s pay by negotiating for equal pay between women and men. A unionised workforce earns more than a non-unionised workforce and on average a woman earns 25% more where a union is recognised. The gender pay gap is also lower, but the UK is still 10th out of 15 in the European Union equal pay league table.
It has been said that we should not try and correct the past, but we have to remember that all employers that have not implemented the Equal Pay Act have been acting illegally since 1970, so they do have a duty to provide compensation to women AND men (because that happens too), disabled people and black and ethnic minorities who are known to have been discriminated against since that date and to bring their salaries in line with their peers’ based on performance in like for like jobs.
It is also important to remember that there are people who face multiple discrimination for example a white disabled woman or black disabled man, and it is vital not to be blasé about it. It is happening. For every ‘imagined’ case of discrimination there are tenfold ‘r
If you think you have been discriminated against under the Equal Pay Act, you can do one of three things:
There are many people who do not want to ‘rock the boat’ for fear of reprisals with regard to future progression or how they will be treated when it is all over. This is understandable and only you can decide if you are prepared to accept the consequences of your actions. Although it is worth noting that it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of an action taken by them in cases like this.
~2~ Tackle it yourself
Some people are quite confident and once they know they are being treated less favourably than similarly employed colleagues they feel able to confront their bosses (wish I was one of those!). If you do decide to take this course of action, arm yourself with as much concrete information as possible and you may wish to use a solicitor. Check their track record and choose carefully.
Claims under the Equal Pay Act can be taken at any time up to six months after you leave the company and Courts have said that relatively small differences in the content of a job can be ignored when considering equal pay claims as they would not be likely to affect pay or terms and conditions and therefore should not rule out a like for like claim at tribunal.
~3~ Join a Trade Union
Trade unions are often wary of taking on new members who just want them to deal with pre-existing problems, in fairness to current members. But in cases like these you will probably find one to represent you. You will have very experienced people working on your behalf and they will tell you if your chances of success are slim.
Again, choose carefully. There are specialist unions and also general ones. Go for one that has expertise in your field of work as they will already have the in
NATFHE, the union that represents teachers in further and higher education, found that male academics are currently being paid up to £8000 more than women doing exactly the jobs. This isn’t acceptable, but it is happening.
De Montfort University in Leicester recently settled an equal pay claim out of court to the tune of £10,000. The lecturer in question was appointed on approximately £6,000 less than a colleague who had similar qualifications.
In my workplace there is a proper grading structure. There is a minimum and maximum salary for each role and everyone starts at the bottom of their grade. Moving to the top of the grade can be achieved within 5 years and each year pay negotiations are undertaken by our staff committee. Everything is open and above board.
I think that employers should be under obligation to monitor and review their pay systems by gender, ethnicity and disability and forced to implement equal pay policies.
They will not do it otherwise, time has proved this.