What does the law on equal pay say?

BBC
BBC (PA Archive)
10:26am, Thu 12 Nov 2020
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A human rights watchdog has announced the results of an investigation into BBC pay practices over alleged discrimination against women.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced the results of its review on Thursday after claims that female employees at the broadcaster were not receiving “equal pay for equal work”.

The watchdog said its report had found “no unlawful acts of pay discrimination by the BBC”.

– Here is an explanation of the law surrounding equal pay:

The Equality Act 2010 says men and women performing equal work for the same employer must receive equal pay unless any discrepancy can be justified, according to the EHRC.

This relates to basic salaries, bonuses, overtime rates, severance and redundancy pay, pension schemes and benefits including travel allowances and company cars.

If it can be shown that a woman is being paid less than a male colleague, there is a legal presumption that any discrepancy is because of their sex.

Equal work applies to tasks that are the same or broadly similar, or roles that require similar levels of knowledge and skills.

Employers are expected to justify any discrepancies.

– How does equal pay differ to the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is the average difference between the earnings of men and women across an organisation.

An organisation with a large gender pay gap may not necessarily be in breach of the Equality Act 2010. If men occupy more higher paid jobs in an organisation while women tend to be on lower salaries, the organisation is not necessarily breaking the law if men and women are not being paid differently for the same work.

A company with a small gender pay gap could be in breach of the law if any one individual can demonstrate they are being paid less than someone of a different gender for carrying out similar tasks.

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