How to implement equal pay

Advice and Guidance

Who is this page for?

  • Employers

Which countries is it relevant to?

    • England

      England

    • |
    • Scotland

      Scotland

    • |
    • Wales

      Wales

The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) entitles a woman to equal pay with a man doing equal work in the same employment. The equal pay provisions in the Act apply to both men and women, but to avoid repetition and for clarity, this guidance is written as though the claimant is a woman (because most equal pay claims are made by women). Equal pay applies not only to salary, but to all contractual terms of employment, such as bonuses, holiday entitlement, company cars, pensions contributions and other benefits.

As an employer, you are under a legal obligation to provide equal pay. At the Equality and Human Rights Commission, we are committed to working with employers to help them pay their employees fairly, in line with their obligations under the Act.

As with any legislation, you need to know how it affects you in particular. These pages will help you check whether you currently provide equal pay in your organisation – and what to do about it if you don’t. The aim is to help you avoid unlawful discrimination that could expose your organisation to the risk of an equal pay claim.

It’s important to understand that implementing equal pay is not a ‘one-off’ exercise. It must be an ongoing business objective, integrated within the policies and systems of your organisation and kept under constant review.

It requires time and resources - not only financial – but if implemented successfully, organisations that achieve equal pay may find an increase in productivity that comes from higher morale and employee commitment. They’ll also find it easier to recruit and retain a skilled workforce as well as sustaining or improving their reputation. 

Small organisations: how to check if you currently provide equal pay

For employers with 50 or fewer employees, our three-step review can help you check whether you currently provide equal pay and highlight any issues you might need to address.

Find out more

Large organisations: how to check if you currently provide equal pay

If your organisation employs 50 or more people, use our five-step equal pay audit to check if you currently provide equal pay and identify any areas that may need attention.

Find out more

How to achieve equal pay

Understand the principles, policies and systems that can help to achieve equal pay, and how to implement them in your organisation.

Find out more

These pages focus on equal pay between women and men because the equal pay provisions of the Equality Act 2010 relate specifically to sex discrimination in pay.  However, pay systems may also be challenged under the Equality Act 2010 if they discriminate because of race, age or other protected characteristics’.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure that this advice is accurate and up to date, it does not guarantee that you could successfully defend an equal pay claim. Only the courts or tribunals can give authoritative interpretations of the law.

Further Information

If you are involved in an employment dispute or are seeking information on employment rights and rules, you can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas):

www.acas.org.uk/helplineonline

Freephone: 0300 123 1100 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm Saturday)

Text Relay service: 18001 0300 123 1100.

Last updated: 16 Aug 2016