You can ask your employer questions about its pay policies and the pay awarded to male colleagues. The Acas guidance Asking and responding to questions of discrimination in the workplace encourages potential claimants to ask questions of their employer before deciding whether to issue tribunal proceedings based on discrimination. It includes a 'questioner's template' to guide you with your choice of questions.
In an equal pay claim, Acas suggests a three-step process:
- Identify your comparator.
- Explain how they are doing equal work to you.
- Ask further relevant pay-related questions, such as how pay is determined by the employer and what there is in the comparator’s job description that could explain the difference in pay.
From about March 2018, it should be easier to find out about the gender pay gap at work if you work for a large employer. A new statutory regime was launched in March 2017, affecting employers with 250 or more employees in the public, private or voluntary sector.
This regime requires these employers to publish data on their gender pay gap and to upload it to a government website. In practice, many public sector employers already make this sort of information available, because they need to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty.
The new statutory regime should help to shine a light on the pay gaps that exist, although it would be even better if bosses were under a legal obligation to explain why pay gaps exist and to set out what action will be taken to narrow them.
In addition, the Office for National Statistics has developed a useful new interactive tool – Find out the Gender Pay Gap for your job.
In practice, you are unlikely to be the only employee at your workplace who suspects that some of the pay difference where you work is down to gender. A collective approach is often the best way of tackling issues of this kind. Unions have led the campaign for equal pay and have developed a great deal of expertise along the way.
If you are not a member of a trade union, browse our Union Finder tool to find the best union for you, and to find out how a union can help you campaign for equal pay where you work.