Women in the United Kingdom have been campaigning for equal pay at the workplace for years. The right to equal pay between both genders was protected initially in 1970, in the Equal Pay Act, and more recently in 2010 in the Equality Act.
Despite the existence of these vital Acts, the situation doesn’t show any signs of improvement. Women still face discrimination in workplaces. Women receive low incomes compared to their male colleagues, yet they perform the same duties.
Equal pay is often confused with the gender pay gap, with most people not knowing how to differentiate between the two. We will define Equal pay in the UK and the gender pay gap to be able to differentiate between the two. We will also look into why Equal pay is essential both to society and the business community in Britain.
What is Equal Pay?
It means that women and men in the same form of employment undertaking equal tasks must get equal pay, as mandated by the Equality Act of 2010. It is the law, and employers have no option to comply by ensuring men and women performing the same type of tasks get equal salaries and the relevant contractual conditions and terms of employment.
Equal or same work has been described as work that involves similar roles and also requires the same skills. Take, for instance, a male and female nurse, performing the same tasks, having the same qualifications, and having the same experience level. According to Equal pay, they should both get paid the same amount of wages since they do equal work.
Discrimination has remained rife with women receiving less income than their male counterparts in the same field. Some leading organizations such as BBC have come under heavy fire after their records revealed huge disparities between what their female and male employees earn.
Why is Equal pay important?
Ensuring equal pay for women in a company or organization is not only a legal requirement but is a crucial first step towards a fairer UK and working environment.
Importance of Equal Pay to the Society
Implementing a fair and transparent pay system sends a positive message to the entire workforce, about the company’s core values, belief system, and working culture. Pay is one key factor that affects either negatively or positively, the motivation of the employees. It is, therefore, vital for the employer to provide equal wages for equal work.
Having an equal pay system in place is also essential for a harmonious working environment and better relations between employees. Therefore, an employer can increase staff productivity and efficiency. There will also be a few cases of absenteeism and staff turnover.
Failure to follow and ensuring equal pay in the company can also put the organization under risk of legal claims. This could potentially damage the reputation of the company and affect the success the employer seeks to achieve.
Having to go to court to defend an equal pay claim is expensive, time-consuming, and complicated. The company may emerge from the suit with its reputation in tatters, especially in this social media generation. People always boycott products and services from such companies just through the power of a hashtag.
Gender Pay Gap Explained
This is the mean disparity in the remuneration of ladies and men who are working. It seeks to measure the difference between the mean hourly wages of women and men in the UK.
It is arrived at by summing up the earning of all men and women workers and dividing the result by the total number of the workforce. It is reported as a percentage showing the difference between the mean income figures of males and females in the workplace.
The gender pay gap neglects differences in the job description, age of the workers, or previous work experience, like the Equal Pay Act.
Implementing a similar pay structure for both men and women stands to benefit society and the business community. It can help in the creation of a fairer UK and just working environment, where each employee is given an equal chance to fulfill their potential and receive fair wages for tasks performed.