Equal pay is the right for men and women to be paid the same when doing the same, or equivalent, work. It has been an aspect of UK sex discrimination law for over 40 years, and the law is now incorporated into the Equality Act 2010. However, a significant pay difference between male and female employees still exists.

This factsheet offers a broad outline of equal pay law looking at the role of 'comparators', how claims are dealt with by employment tribunals and the employer's right to a ‘material factor’ defence. It also looks at the gender pay gap and the reporting requirements being introduced in the UK. Finally it suggests good employment practices.

CIPD viewpoint

What is equal pay?

The legal position on equal pay

Equal pay claims

What is gender pay gap reporting?

Good employment practices

Useful contacts and further reading

This factsheet was last updated by Lisa Ayling, solicitor and employment law specialist, and by Charles Cotton.

Charles Cotton

Charles Cotton: Performance and Reward Adviser

Charles directs the CIPD's performance and reward research agenda. He has recently led research into: how employers can help improve their employees’ understanding of their personal finances; how front line managers make and communicate reward decisions to their employees; how employers manage the risks around reward; how private sector employers can build the business case for workplace pensions; how employees form their attitudes to pay; and how the annual pay review process can become more strategic. 

He is also responsible for the CIPD’s public policy reward work and has given evidence to select committees on banking pay, redundancy awards as well as responding to various consultations, such as on pensions, retirement and MPs’ expenses.


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