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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49851
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My daughter has worked for a school as a pastoral carer for

Customer Question

My daughter has worked for a school as a pastoral carer for 18 months and discovered today that the other three pastoral carers have been employed on 2 grades higher than her, despite them being employed on the same day and although my daughter had more experience working with challenging children, the other carers were put on the grade because they had worked at the school in a temp capacity but not in the same role. she has been told now that her grade will be the same but she has questioned whether the grade should be backdated from the date she and the others stareted their employment
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. Please let me know how will this affect her?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

She is currently on Grade 1 whereas the others are on Grade 3 my daughter is on 21k per annum where the others are on 23k per annum

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 years ago.
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 wish, as long as it is above the 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, most commonly due to a difference in gender.

Therefore, if there is evidence that the reason for the difference in pay is gender-related, the law of equal pay will be relevant and a potential claim would exist. However, if the reason is not discriminatory then there is unlikely to be a valid claim. Whilst the employer’s actions may impact on the employees’ morale and may seem unfair, they would not be illegal.

Even if there was evidence that the reasons 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 the difference in pay is due to:
• Market forces and skills shortages
• Red circling
• Geographical differences
• Different skills, qualifications and experience

Whilst she has managed to get the employer to adjust her grade, she does not have any legal grounds to demand a backdate in payments.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you wanted to hear but I hope you understand I have a duty to explain the law as it actually stands and sometimes this does mean delivering bad news. Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything.

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