Equal pay is in the forefront of many news headlines at the moment, and rightly so. The Equal Pay Act 1970 states that there must be no favourable treatment between men and women in regards to pay and conditions of employment.
Similarly, the Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination in employment on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, race, religion/belief, sex or sexual orientation. This all seems very clear, so where is it going wrong?
News broke recently (February 7th 2018) that Tesco is facing Britain’s largest ever equal pay claim, which could amount to an enormous £4billion bill. It has transpired that despite saying they work hard to ensure all staff are paid ‘fairly and equally’, Tesco has been paying most female workers £8 an hour, whereas men can be earning as much as £11 an hour.
These salaries are for women who work in the Tesco stores and men who work in the Tesco warehouses. So, they are different roles.
However, the whole point of equal pay is that pay should be the same for jobs that are of ‘comparable value’. This means that if working in the store and the warehouse requires comparable skills, have comparable worth to the employer and have comparable levels of responsibility, then the pay for these jobs should be in line with each other, regardless of the sex of the person doing the work.
Indeed, Paula Lee of Leigh Day solicitors said that, ‘In terms of equal worth to the company, there really should be no argument that workers in stores, compared to those working in the depots, contribute at least equal value to the vast profits made by Tesco’.
If this is going on within a business as large and prolific as Tesco then it must be acknowledged that it is almost certainly happening in companies all across the country.
There are many ways to ensure that equal pay is commonplace within your own business; something that is vitally important all the time, but especially relevant to address now as the gender pay gap is in the spotlight.
Remember, your payroll provider should be able to help you to audit your payroll so you can analyse it to understand differences in pay and why these exist.