19 Jul 2017

BBC pay row: What is the law on equal pay?

BBC pay row: What is the law on equal pay?

The BBC is facing a backlash after revealing that only a third of its highest-paid stars are female - so what are the rules on equal pay?

The licence fee-funded corporation has listed the 96 stars who earn more than £150,000 a year. Altogether, their earnings total almost £30million.

Chris Evans has topped the list, making between £2.2million and £2.25million in 2016/2017, while Claudia Winkleman is the BBC's highest-paid female celebrity, earning between £400,000 and £450,000.

Match of the Day's Gary Lineker earned between £1.75million and £1.8million, the BBC annual report said.

However, only one third of the names on the list - released under the requirements of the BBC's new Royal Charter - are women.

BBC director general Lord Hall said it highlighted a need to "go further and faster" on gender issues.

What is the law on equal pay?

The law on equal pay in the UK, first introduced by the Equal Pay Act 1970, is now part of the Equality Act 2010.

The law gives a woman the right to be paid the same as a man (and vice-versa) for the following:

  • Like work - where two employees who are doing the same or broadly similar roles;
  • Work rated as equivalent by analytical job evaluation study - could be totally different jobs which have been given the same rating as the result of an analytical job evaluation; or
  • Work of equal value - when there are two jobs that are very different, but the employee claims that they require a similar level of skill and ability. For example, a female cook comparing her work to that of painters, insulation engineers and joiners who work for the same organisation.

The right to make a claim under equal pay legislation applies to employees (including apprentices) whether on full-time, part-time, casual or temporary contracts, and irrespective of their length of service. Workers and some self-employed individuals whose contracts require personal performance of the work also have the right to make such a claim. 

Good practice for employers

To ensure compliance with equal pay legislation across a business where there might be many different job types and pay structures, employers could set up a job evaluation scheme.

The Equal pay code of practice recommends equal pay reviews, reports or audits as the most appropriate method of delivering a pay system free from gender bias.

Employment law specialists

Aberdein Considine's Catriona Ramsay advises employers and employees in respect of all aspects of Employment Law.

If you wish to speak to her about your circumstances, call 0333 0044 333 or click here.

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