Why does equal pay matter to employees?

Advice and Guidance

Who is this page for?

  • employees

Which countries is it relevant to?

    • Great Britain

Why equal pay matters

The right to equal pay between women and men for equal work was first protected by law in the Equal Pay Act 1970, and is now protected in the Equality Act 2010 (the Act). This legislation aims to create a fairer Britain, where all members of society are protected against discrimination at work and in other areas of their daily lives.

Under the Act, employers are responsible for providing equal pay to women and men for equal work.

It is your legal right

The Act implies a sex equality clause into all employment contracts. Employees can take legal steps to challenge unequal pay and enforce this equality clause. Further information about how to challenge unequal pay is available in Equal pay is a matter of law. Additional information is available in the Equality and Human Rights Commission publication, ‘Your Rights to Equality at Work: Pay and Benefits’

However, the law and procedures to follow can be complicated. If you are concerned that you may be paid less than a person of the opposite sex for equal work you should get other help and advice, for example, from:


Last updated: 27 Nov 2019

Contact Acas for 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):

Visit the Acas website

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

Text Relay service: 18001 0300 123 1100.