Why is equal pay important?

Advice and Guidance

Which countries is it relevant to?

    • Great Britain

Providing equal pay for men and women doing equal work is not only a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act), it is also an important step on the path towards a fairer Britain.

Equal pay: important to women, important to society

The equal pay provisions of the Act aim to address situations where women are being paid less than men, even though they are carrying out equal work. Paying women less than men is not only unfair, it also has far-reaching implications for society by contributing to the gender pay gap, women’s lower pension contributions and their higher incidence of relative poverty in later life.


Equal pay is important to you, your employees - and for the future

Pay systems that are transparent and reward the entire workforce fairly send a positive message about an organisation’s values and ways of working.

Pay is one of the key factors affecting motivation and relationships at work. So it’s important to develop pay arrangements that are not only right for your organisation, but reward all employees fairly by providing equal pay for equal work.

Fair and non-discriminatory pay systems are a legal requirement and good management practice.  By tackling unequal pay you can increase efficiency and productivity, as it will help to attract the best employees, reduce staff turnover, increase commitment and reduce absenteeism.

Equal pay is also a key part of your organisation's corporate social responsibility. This is increasingly important for many stakeholders, including shareholders, the people you do business with and your customers.

Failing to ensure equal pay in your organisation could lead to legal claims, reputational damage and, ultimately, affect your commercial success.

The courts have made it clear that employers are responsible for ensuring that their pay systems are free from sex discrimination, and that they should not wait until confronted with a claim before taking action to ensure equal pay.

For any organisation, having to defend an equal pay claim is a costly, complex and time-consuming exercise.

By ensuring equal pay for equal work, employers can minimise the risks of an equal pay claim and help create a fairer society, where everyone can achieve their potential and be fairly rewarded for the work they do.

Last updated: 19 Feb 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

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