The Equal Pay Act will be 46 years old this year. So why is it the big employment law news story for 2016? What’s all the fuss?
Well, there are a few different reasons. The last two decades have seen mass claims against public sector employers, in which legal principles have been developed to take the right to equal pay much further than was envisaged in the past. Now many of the public sector actions are running their course (with other public sector bodies having got their houses in order) and claimant lawyers are looking to target private sector employers who have traditionally considered themselves relatively safe from this type of action.
Other developments have meant that the sorts of claims that might previously not have got off the ground either easier or more financially viable. This includes legal changes about limitation periods for bringing claims, as well as a movement (albeit a slow one) towards greater pay transparency. With Employment Tribunal fees making individual employment claims more expensive to bring, there is a greater incentive than ever for lawyers to promote group claims, where the costs can be spread between a large number of individuals. Good news for the individuals – not so good for the employer. Most importantly, the upcoming introduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting has put equal pay at the top of the agenda for employees and businesses alike.
In a series of Gender Pay Gap blogs over the next few weeks, we’ll take you through the basics of this essential (and fiendishly complicated) area of employment law.
To really get to grips with all things equal pay, though, why not speak to me about our bespoke Gender Pay Gap Audit & Advice service for your organisation.
Email Luke Menzies