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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 66854
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My Dad has been at work for Agribulk haulage company for

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My Dad has been at work for Agribulk haulage company for over 20 years. The director of the company, his boss, has been there a similar amount of time to him. My dad accidentally looked at a document which said how much everyone he works with was being paid. At the time my Dad was earning roughly £45,000 per year, and his boss, the director, was earning well over £100,000. My Dad was astonished at the difference, because they have been at the company a similar amount of time and both have very similar responsibilities. My Dad also knows that his boss has a tendency to leave work early when he is not supposed to, as well as a tendency to use company money for things like family meals etc without replacing it. My Dad is too scared to go the boss of the company (the boss of his boss) and ask for more money, because technically he isn't supposed to know how much the director is earning. And also, he is worried he will be told to find another job if he asks for a pay rise. However it is not fair for him to sit back and be paid so much less. Is there anything my dad can do?

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. Firstly, I need to ask some initial questions to determine the legal position.

What is your dad's job title and role? How significantly different is it to that of his boss?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
My Dad is transport manager, he manages the maintenance side of things. His boss he works with is general transport manager. He routes trucks and is general boss of the office. Both roles are logistics related

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience. The law on equal pay is frequently misunderstood. It is quite common to believe that there is a right to equal pay across the workforce, especially for workers that perform the same or similar jobs. Legislation on equal pay was actually brought in to deal with the gender pay gap and to ensure that women were not paid less than their male counterparts because of their gender. So that is why equal pay would only be a relevant argument if the reasons for the difference in pay were gender-related.

The reality is that employers are free to pay their employees whatever they deem appropriate, as long as it is above the current National Minimum Wage and in accordance with the employee's contract of employment. It is not unlawful to pay employees doing the same or similar jobs different rates. As mentioned, this would only be an issue if there is a gender-related reason behind this.

Even if an employer is paying a man more than a woman, they could still try and rely on the 'genuine material factor' defence to defend any potential equal pay claim. This would be possible where the employer can show that the difference in pay is not due to gender but 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 clear gender-related reasons for the difference in pay, which cannot be justified by any of the above reasons, 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.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi, thank you for your reply!I have a few questions from your responseA) does this mean my dad could ask his employer why there is such a big pay difference (bare in mind again, he isn’t actually supposed to know how much his boss earns), and if the employer can’t give any of the following reasons:Past performance· Seniority or length of service· Different hours of work· Geographical differences· Different skills, qualifications and experience· Pay protection following job re-gradingThen he should be entitled to a higher pay?B) if my dad does query the difference in pay, and potentially ask for a pay rise, is it possible that he could be fired? Is it legal to fire someone for asking for a pay rise?

Hi there

No that is not correct. There could be no reason whatsoever why he I appreciate this may not be the answer you were hoping for but it is the legal position and I hope that it at least clarifies where you stand?

A) Paid differently and that is still legal. These were just some examples on why it could be justified but it is not necessary. In the end, he will only have a claim if he can show that the difference in pay was due to discrimination, such as gender

B) He should not be fired simply for asking for a pay rise – it is entirely fine for him to do that as long as he accepted their answer

Does this clarify things a bit more for you?

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can simply reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’ and I won’t bother you again. Thank you

Customer: replied 6 months ago.

All the best

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