PRIVATE SECTOR

DISCRIMINATORY PAY BASED ON GENDER
IS RIFE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR.
OUR MISSION IS TO CHANGE THAT.

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What should I do?

 

  • Do you believe you are paid less than a comparator of the opposite sex?

  • Do you do the same job as that person?

  • Or do you do a different job but your work is equal to theirs in terms of effort, skill and authority?

 

Click here to fill in our online claim form.

 

 

 

 

Or call 0121 210 6224 for a free, no obligation, confidential chat with one
of our legal advisors.

 

Remember claims can be made against current or past employers in the last 6 years.

 

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Official sources and a steady stream of equal pay cases in the Employment Tribunals and County Courts show that discriminatory pay practices in the private sector are endemic.

 

Statistics

 

The most popular resource is the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (“ASHE”) which is carried out by the Office for National Statistics.

 

The generally accepted view extrapolated from ASHE is that women are paid 19% less than men in the economy as a whole. The Fawcett Society suggests this equates to women earning on average £5,000 less than men per year.  The pay difference increases to 41% for women that work part time.

 

The ASHE statistics suggest the following:

 

  • The highest pay difference is between middle and higher earners;
  •  When age is factored in, the highest pay gaps are in the 40-49 age group;
  • Part time women always seem to be worse off mainly because they receive low basic pay.

 

According to the Fawcett Society the lowest paid women are concentrated in the following sectors: cleaning, catering, health & social care, leisure, admin and secretarial, service industries and sales/customer service roles.

 

Equal pay claims in the private sector

 

An average of 20,000 equal pay claims across all sectors are issued every year, although there was a peak of equal pay claims in 2007 of 60,000.

 

Over the years, there have been equal pay claims against banks, retailers, logistics companies and many other employers. Not all are publicised, because many employers settle cases quickly to stay out of the headlines. As recently as 2014, a large number of equal pay claims were brought against ASDA.  As many as 6,000 claims have already been issued in the Manchester Employment Tribunal and there may be a further 22,000 ASDA “colleagues” who will also make claims. Workers at Sainsbury's are also now taking legal action to ensure they are paid equally.

 

Despite the growing number of cases, many employees in the private sector do not realise they are being paid less than the counterparts because employers are (not yet) obliged to publish data on the gender pay gap in their organisation.

 

Legal and political trends

 

Compared to public sector workers, private sector employees make comparatively rare use of the right to make an equal pay claim, despite that right being available for over 40 years now. Pressure groups and organisations such as the  Fawcett Society, the Trade Union Congress and the Equality and Human Rights Commission are campaigning for change, but past governments have responded fairly weakly. This may be changing after the most recent election.

 

Whilst publically endorsing equal pay rights, historically governments and opposition parties have not been willing to progress the idea beyond vote-winning slogans when it comes to the private sector. In a weak attempt to pay lip service to increasing pressure for equal pay to be addressed, the last government published the “Think, Act, Report” framework which set out guidelines on how private sector companies should approach pay gap reporting.  The report was aimed at the largest employers in the UK.  So far approximately 300 employers have signed up to the guidelines. But unfortunately those guidelines impose no obligations whatsoever on employers actually to address equal pay issues.  Of those 300, only 4 have in fact revealed their pay gaps.

 

Nevertheless, the “Think, Act, Report” document is interesting.  For the first time there is a list of companies which are concerned, or at least want to be seen to be concerned, about equal pay.  Companies across all sectors have signed up, including in retail (Tesco, Marks and Spencer, McDonald’s), finance and banking (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, BNY Mellon, RBS, Deloitte, Grant Thornton), transport (Airbus, Rolls Royce, BAE, Carillion, Network Rail) and utilities (Centrica, EDF).

 

Just before the general election in March 2015, the Liberal Democrats forced through an amendment to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill to introduce mandatory equal pay reporting for companies with more than 250 employees.  It is estimated that there are 7,000 companies in the UK that could be affected; many times more than the number of companies  that signed up to voluntary “Think, Act, Report” scheme. Government has postponed the coming into force of that bill several times, although David Cameron has now publicly committed ensuring real change is implemented in 2016.

 

It’s a good time to bring an equal pay claim

 

  • In the current legal and political climate, private sector employers are more likely to settle for commercial reasons.
  •  In October 2015, Employment Tribunals were given the power to order employer who lost an equal pay claim to carry out a pay audit. Private sector employers will work to avoid such orders to protect their reputation and to prevent equal pay claims from flooding in.
  • Private sector employers cannot ban discussions about pay.  Secrecy clauses were outlawed by s.77 Equality Act 2010.  As a result,  for the last 5 years, employees have been able to ask each other how much they are paid and make comparisons for the purposes of establishing equal pay without fear of being victimised.
  • Many public sector services have been outsourced to the private sector (eg security, care homes, cleaning) under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. After such transfers, employees still work under their old terms, so if there was unequal pay before the transfer, it is more than likely that the unequal pay and the right to make an equal pay claim will transfer over with the employee to the new company.
  • Very few private sector employers have job evaluation schemes which are designed to evaluate each job role pay people fairly .
  •  Since 2013 lawyers have been able to act on Damages Based Agreements (“DBAs”).   This means that claimants are not charged anything up front to bring their claim. Lawyers instead take a % of their clients’ compensation after the case is won.

 

 

Click here to view our FAQs which deal with the more practical concerns of bringing an equal pay claim.

 

Alternatively, you can ring us on 0121 210 6224 if you would prefer to speak to an adviser directly free of charge.

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Speak to one of our expert advisors today by calling 0121 210 6224 or fill out the form to the right to get in contact with us.

“Equal Pay Legal Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales  (registered number 8310241) (“firm”, “we”, “our” or “us”) with registered office Trigen House, Central Boulevard, Blythe Valley Park, Solihull, B90 8AB , UK.  Equal Pay Legal Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Reg No: 592181).  Any reference on this website to the term ‘partner’ in connection to Equal Pay Legal Limited is a reference to a Director and/or member of Equal Pay Legal Limited or an employee of equivalent status. A list of the members of Equal Pay Legal Limited, and their professional qualifications, is available at the registered office.”

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