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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Certain workers that do the same job as myself received a

Customer Question

Certain workers that do the same job as myself received a payment back in the 1990's before I was employed under a local agreement with human resources for a particular duty .The public transport company has now changed names but I now do the same particular duty that they were paid extra for and therefore I carry out same duty as they are without the extra money .My employer is a national railway company and I am based in Scotland
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

So the sole reason they receive that extra pay is due to their agreement back in the 90s?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
it was a duty they learned through training given them an extra payment agreed with HR . I carry out same duty and have been for my 10 years of employment
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. The law on equal pay is frequently misunderstood. Many workers believe that there is a right to equal pay across the workforce, especially for workers that perform the same or similar jobs.

However, the reality is that employers are free to pay their employees whatever they want, as long as it is above the current National Minimum Wage and in accordance with the employee's contract of employment. It is not generally unlawful to pay employees doing the same or similar jobs different rates. The only time this would be an issue is if the reasons for the difference in pay is discriminatory, due to a difference in gender. The relevant law was originally brought in to deal with the fact that many women were being paid less than their male colleagues for doing the same job.

Whilst this protection still applies, to be successful in a claim you must show that the reason for being paid less is actually gender-related. It is no good claiming that you are being paid less than someone else, unless it can be shown that the reasons for this difference in pay is due to gender.

Even if there was evidence that the reasons for the difference in pay may be gender-related, the employer could still try and rely on the 'genuine material factor' defence to defend any equal pay claim. This would occur where the employer can show that the difference in pay is due to:

· Past performance

· Seniority or length of service

· Different hours of work

· Geographical differences

· Different skills, qualifications and experience

· Pay protection following job re-grading

So unless there were discriminatory reasons for the difference in pay, there is nothing illegal in paying different rates even if the workers are performing the same job. I agree that is appears unfair and morally wrong, but unfortunately it is not illegal.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46182
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I can see why the union have had problems trying to enforce it .Thank you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Just a thought Ben if one of the workers was a female back when it was agreed I would have had a chance,
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

well the issue is that you cannot just say one is female so it is discriminatory - for example if there was a mix of male and female who were affected then obviously there would be no gender reason behind the employer's decision

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