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:
- 'like work' – the same, or broadly similar work;
- 'work rated as equivalent' – different work, but where the jobs have been rated as equivalent under a job evaluation scheme; and
- 'work of equal value' – different work, but which could be rated as equivalent if there had been a job evaluation scheme.
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.
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.
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.