What is equal pay?

Advice and Guidance

Who is this page for?

  • Employers

Which countries is it relevant to?

    • England

      England

    • |
    • Scotland

      Scotland

    • |
    • Wales

      Wales

What is equal pay?

Equal pay means that men and women in the same employment performing equal work must receive equal pay, as set out in the Equality Act 2010. It’s the law, and if you’re an employer you must observe it. This applies not only to salary, but to all contractual terms and conditions of employment, such as holiday entitlement, bonuses, pay and reward schemes, pension payments and other benefits.

As with any law, you need to know all the details and how they affect you. These pages will help you find the answers you need, and suggest other useful sources of information to help you verify, implement and maintain equal pay in your organisation.

Equal pay explained

Although the law on equal pay may seem complicated, its purpose is simple – to ensure that women and men doing equal work receive equal pay (and other contractual terms and conditions of employment) for it. As an employer, not complying with your legal obligations on equal pay leaves you open to the risk of an equal pay claim.

Equal pay explained

What is equal work?

Equal pay hinges on the concept of ‘equal work’. The Equality Act 2010 says that when men and women are doing equal work they have the right to receive equal pay. Job titles should not be used to judge whether the work of one job is equal to another.

What is equal work?

Are you at risk?

Although it’s not possible to know whether your organisation’s pay system is compliant with equal pay legislation without undertaking an equal pay audit, there may be some indicative signs that suggest you are at risk.

Are you at risk?

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: 11 May 2017