If you are not getting equal pay - Equal pay: advice for employees

If you are not getting equal pay

By law, men and women must get equal pay for doing 'equal work'. This is work that equal pay law classes as the same, similar, equivalent or of equal value.

You should talk to your employer to try and resolve the issue if you feel you are not getting equal pay compared to someone who is both:

  • the opposite sex to you
  • doing equal work for the same employer or an 'associated' employer

Employers are 'associated' if any of the following apply: 

  • one of them has control over the other
  • both are controlled by another organisation – for example a parent company
  • a single organisation is able to set the terms and conditions for both

Find out more about equal pay law

Checking for evidence

To help see if there's an equal pay issue, you should check:

  • your pay and how it's made up so you can compare it with others – for example, what basic pay, overtime or commission rates you get
  • pay and benefits for people of the opposite sex to you doing work you think is 'equal work'

You can ask your employer or manager for information about pay and contractual terms and conditions, if you think you're not getting equal pay.

Raising an issue

It's best to raise an issue informally first by talking to your employer.

Using a question and answer process

If you believe you are not getting equal pay, it can be a good idea to use a question and answer process. This includes sending your employer a statement explaining what happened and asking your employer for more information about your pay or terms and conditions.

This could help to resolve the issue without you having to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

Find out more about asking questions about equal pay and terms and conditions

If you want it dealt with formally

You can raise a grievance if:

  • raising the problem informally does not work
  • you think it's too serious to raise informally

A grievance is where you make a formal complaint to your employer.

If you have any evidence at this stage, it's a good idea to share it with your employer when you raise the issue.

Making an equal pay claim

If you're not able to resolve the problem with your employer, you might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal for equal pay.

You might also be able to make a claim for sex discrimination, if you have been treated unfairly because of your sex.

To make an equal pay claim, you'll need to show your pay and conditions are worse than someone else's. This person is called a 'comparator'. The comparator must be someone who is both:

  • the opposite sex to you
  • doing equal work for the same or an 'associated' employer

More than one comparator can be used. A comparator can be someone who currently works for your employer, or someone who used to.

This is a complex area so it's a good idea to get legal advice.

Find more advice on equal pay from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

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