BrightHR’s Thea Watson advises employers on the importance of equal pay for their workers.
In the UK, men and women are legally required to get equal pay for work that is considered ‘equal’ in terms of similarity, equivalence, or value.
This means you can’t pay an employee less than another employee of the opposite sex who is doing equal work for you – or you might be taken to tribunal.
So, what can you do to make sure your business embraces equal pay and stays in line with equality laws?
Equal pay and the law
Equal pay law is covered under the Equality Act 2010 and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) statutory code of practice. But it’s not just pay that the law applies to.
You’re also required to offer equal contractual terms and conditions, like annual leave allowance, benefits and performance-based bonuses.
So, how can you make sure you pay your staff equally and fairly?
To reduce your risk of unequal pay, it’s best practice to:
- Have an equal pay policy in place to protect your people and your business.
- Make sure your job descriptions are up to date and accurate.
- Check that your job titles are the same, no matter the sex of your employee.
- Provide better training for hiring staff to reduce pay discrimination from the start.
- Establish fair pay scales or pay grades for each of your roles based on the position, level of responsibility, and experience.
- Use a salary calculator tool to keep your pay offering equal and at market rate.
- Promote pay transparency to build trust and help close the gender pay gap.
And equal pay isn’t just important for legal reasons.
Paying staff equally in your business can improve your reputation, increase staff motivation and productivity, and form a key part of your social responsibility and culture – which are two very important priorities for jobseekers which make your company more attractive.
Remember, ignoring important employee rights like equal pay has risks for your business.
If one of your employees feels they’re not getting equal pay, they may be able to take legal action against you.
They could make a claim to an employment tribunal for equal pay or make a claim for sex discrimination, so it’s best to take action before you find yourself in the worst-case scenario.
By Thea Watson
Thea Watson is the chief international growth and marketing officer at BrightHR. A version of this article was previously published on the BrightHR blog.
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