In what circumstances am I entitled to claim equal pay?

The law states that men and women are entitled to equal pay where they are doing the same work, or, in some cases, different types of work, but which are considered equivalent. These are categorised as:

Pay includes all aspects of wages and salaries (including pensions). The equal pay laws apply to all workers, including those working on a part-time, casual or temporary basis.

In order to make a claim you need to find a person of the opposite sex, called a 'comparator', who is being paid more than you and who works in the same establishment.

Claims have to be made to the employment tribunal within six months. There are tribunal fees to pay. Equal pay claims usually take the form of ‘group’ or multi-claimant litigation, often coordinated by the legal department of a trade union. The final ruling will affect the pay of many employees who share the same terms and conditions. There are special arrangements in the tribunal fee rules for 'multi-party' claims.

Before any claim can be brought in the employment tribunal, you must submit an Acas Early Conciliation Notification Form to Acas.

For general information on bringing a tribunal claim, including information about Acas early conciliation, see our section on Enforcing your Rights.

Time limits in the employment tribunal are strict. If you miss the six-month time limit for your equal pay claim, the employment tribunal will not be allowed to consider it.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.