Employment Law | Landmark Ruling Could Make Huge Difference To Equal Pay Claims

A recent victory in the Supreme Court for women who used to work for Birmingham City Council means that workers will now have six years to make an equal pay claim in the High Court instead of a six-month window to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

The 174 workers who used to work at the Council can now proceed with equal play claims against their former employer in the High Court.

The Council had originally argued that the claims, that they had failed to provide the workers with the same benefits and payments as employees of the opposite sex who did similarly rated work, should be struck out.  This was on the basis that the claims should have been brought in the employment tribunal, where there is a six-month window for them.

However, the Supreme Court dismissed the Council’s appeal and allowed the claimants to proceed with their cases in the High Court, where the time limit for equal pay claims is six years.

The ruling could have huge implications, as women make up more than half the workforce in the UK and EU surveys have shown that we have one of the highest pay gaps between men and women in the Union.

The law on equal pay is included in the Equality ct 2010, which requires that, where men and women are employed on equal work, the terms of their contracts should also be equal, including pay.  This law applies where there are differences in equality of terms between men and women, but does not apply to those persons of the same sex.

For the purposes of the act, “equality of terms” includes pay, but can also include other terms and conditions of employment such as the provision of a company car, healthcare and other benefits.  Therefore, a differential of any such terms can give rise to a claim.

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Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London