We all followed the recent equal pay claim which was brought by the TV presenter Samira Ahmed against her employer, the BBC. In a nutshell, Samira Ahmed successfully claimed that she should be paid the same for hosting ‘Newswatch’ as her male colleague, Jeremy Vine, received for hosting ‘Points of View’. This is not the first, and is unlikely to be the last, case of this kind and of this scale.
An Equal Pay Bill has now been launched and is currently making its way through the House of Lords. The Bill is seeking to, amongst other things, provide greater rights for employees to obtain information relating to the pay of a comparator, reform the remedies relating to equal pay and to amend the statutory statement of particulars to include equal pay. It would also extend the pay gap reporting to employers with 100 or more employees (rather than the present 250 or more).
In support of this Bill, the Fawcett Society (which is a charity which campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights) has released some new data to highlight why it considers that the status quo of equal pay law in the UK is not fit for purpose. The research that the Society has released is fairly extensive and has shown that 40% of women do not know that they have the right to equal pay for work of equal value. It has also found that only 8% of people consider that their workplace is open and transparent about pay, with most feeling as though it is an uncomfortable topic to discuss.
It is said that the new Bill is vital for stopping pay discrimination and one would hope that it would reduce the prevalence of claims such as Samira Ahmed’s.
If you are an employer or an employee and you have any concerns or queries on your rights or obligations regarding equal pay, please contact a member of our team.