Employers are under a legal duty to ensure that men and women receive equal pay and equal terms of pay for equal work in the workplace. This right to equal pay is enshrined under the Equality Act 2010, meaning that if you suffering unequal pay in the workplace, you can take action.
The law demands that where employees are involved in "like work" or work that is found to be of equal value in terms of the effort or skills involved, employers must give men and women the same treatment including the same rate of pay, and contract terms.
Where employees believe that they not receiving equal pay, the Equality Act 2010 allows them to contact their employer and request details of how their salary is calculated. Employees can then use this information to establish whether there is a pay difference between individuals who are engaged in "like work" or work requiring the same level of skill or effort.
It is important to note that, under the Equality Act 2010, employees are entitled to have discussions in the workplace to establish if there is a difference in pay - even if this is expressly prohibited in the employment contract. This is known as a ‘relevant pay disclosure’.
The Employment Tribunal sets time limits for when you must bring a claim. Generally, you must present a claim to the Employment Tribunal within 6 months of the employment ending or changing your employment contract.
You must consider that not all claims for Equal Pay have the same merit. If an employer is able to justify a difference in pay between men and women engaged in like work, not based on gender, then this may be enough to defeat an equal pay claim.