Equal pay for equal work: the business case for gender equality

It’s no secret that gender plays a major role in the labour market.

Women in full-time employment currently earn around 13.9% less than male colleagues in the same roles as them over the course of their careers – this is known as the gender pay gap.

That’s a pretty significant gap, especially when 2 employees have been doing the same job to a comparable standard, as well as having similar educational backgrounds and workplace experience.

In October, the Government implemented the gender pay reporting provisions of the Equality Act 2010. Employers with over 250 staff must be ready to publish their gender pay gap by April 2018. Those who fail to comply are likely to be ‘named and shamed’ and as many as half of workers are prepared to demand a pay rise if they discover they are being paid less than a colleague of the opposite sex for equal work.

So what can employers do now to avoid potential claims from staff?

Employers should get ahead of the game by being transparent with all staff about salary rates and ranges applicable to particular roles. Only with 100 per cent transparency can we close the gender pay gap for good. The ball is in the employers’ court.

Employers have been far too successful in instilling a culture of pay secrecy in the workplace – enabling the gender pay gap to remain unaddressed for decades.

Businesses have had the last 45 years to achieve pay parity yet here we are, miles from equality. If companies are unwilling to take the first steps, the transformation will only happen if employees, and women especially, speak up and start making real demands.

The business case for equality in the workplace is substantial and convincing. A failure to nurture talented female employees is short-sighted and will lead to reduced engagement, low morale and reduced productivity. Yet so many businesses continue to do just that.

Regardless of your gender or sexuality, your pay should reflect your expertise and the value that you can bring to a business.

If you find out that a colleague doing the same role as you – or a similar role to you – is earning a higher wage and think this is because of gender, Simpson Millar would encourage you (or anybody who is being discriminated against at work) to get in touch with them today to understand how they can help you.

If you would like to discuss the gender pay gap or any other employment issues their expert team would be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Please call Freephone: 0800 206 1525. Alternatively, you can: Request a call back on their website. They would be more than happy to assist anybody who would like further support.

linda-stewartLinda Stewart is Partner and Head of Employment Law at nationwide firm, Simpson Millar Solicitors. An accredited mediator, Linda has over 15 years’ experience specialising in Employment Law and is an expert in advising and representing women experiencing difficulties in the workplace.

Linda advises on all aspects of the employment relationship, but specialises in particular in the area of sex discrimination; supporting working women to challenge pregnancy and maternity discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, unfair dismissal or redundancy, and equal pay issues.

Linda supports women to tackle these tricky situations; she understands the lasting effect pregnancy and maternity discrimination can have on a woman’s income and career development.


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