This factsheet was last updated in August 2016.
What is equal pay?
Equal pay is the right for men and women to be paid the same for the same, or equivalent, work. It’s an aspect of UK sex discrimination law which has been in force for over 40 years. Where men and women are paid at different rates for the same, or similar, work, the employer must prove that the reason isn't gender-related.
In spite of the legislation, there's still a significant gender gap in pay. The reasons are many and complex, and include historical notions about men being the ‘breadwinner’ in a family, higher value being accorded to jobs requiring traditionally ‘male’ qualities, the concentration of women in certain job roles, the concentration of women in part-time roles, childcare requirements, and women missing out on promotion opportunities due to maternity leave.
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