Working in the private sector and equal pay

‘I work in the private sector. Am I entitled to equal pay?’

Sian Caulfield is CSP national officer
Sian Caulfield is a CSP national officer

Yes. Although there are nuances. The principle behind equal pay is interesting given that the way both equality and inequality in relation to pay is understood. In principle, what underpins equal pay is that work of equal value should receive the same pay. 

The Equality Act of 2010 includes a right to equal pay with someone of the opposite sex who is doing equal work in the same employment. Equal work means the same or similar work, work that is rated as equivalent under a job evaluation scheme, or work that is different but of equal value in terms of the level of skill, responsibility or effort that it requires.

Historic and ongoing discriminatory employment practices have pushed women disproportionately into lower value roles, explaining a large chunk of the gender pay gap. As we begin our recovery from the pandemic, research shows that gender inequality has intensified with women being hit harder by the negative social and economic impacts of the pandemic than men. In 2020 alone, nine out of 10 women in the UK worked in companies that paid them less on average than their male counterparts. 

So what can you do about it? 

Get involved with the CSP – gender pay gaps are best combatted by strong unions, ensuring equity in development, recruitment and workplace practices. 

Use the Equal Pay Toolkit. The CSP has been working with a group of trade unionists, academic researchers and human resources specialists to design the toolkit, published by The Equality Trust on 30 March. If you’re a CSP member working in private practice, you will be able to access this via the CSP website. 

The toolkit covers:

  • equal pay legislation and equal pay claims.
  • how to start talking about pay.
  • the importance of collective bargaining.
  • questions for your employers.
  • gender pay gap reporting.
  • flexible working.
  • examples of member surveys and equal pay audits.

Key links:

If you use this toolkit, share your success story with me at 

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