Equal pay for like work

New law in force

The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.

You have a right to claim equal pay in circumstances where you are doing the same or broadly similar work. This is called 'like work'.

What is like work?

'Like work’ is work that is the same as or broadly similar to the work done by your comparator.

The same work is where you are doing exactly the same work as your comparator (e.g. women and men bank cashiers working at the same counter; women and men serving meals in the same restaurant).

Broadly similar work is where you are doing work of the same nature as your comparator but there are minor differences between the jobs. Examples of broadly similar work from actual cases taken before the courts are:

  • men and women shop assistants working in different sections of the same department store
  • a female cook preparing lunches for company directors comparing herself with a male chef who cooked for employees in the company canteen.

The courts have decided that the question of whether two jobs are broadly similar can be answered by a general consideration of the type of work involved and the skill and knowledge required to do them. Different job titles, job descriptions or contractual obligations do not necessarily rule out a like work claim. It is what the job-holders actually do that matters, not what they are supposed to do.
 

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