Equality Commission Launches New Equal Pay Code

The Code provides employers with practical guidance on how to promote equality of opportunity in pay structures

The new Code of Practice on Equal Pay, which comes into effect on 22 July 2013, has been launched by the Equality Commission.

It provides practical guidance to employers and employees and their representatives or advisers.

Equality Commissioner Lyn McBriar said: “Women in Northern Ireland still earn on average 10 per cent less than men. When the first equal pay law was introduced in 1970 that figure was 30 per cent, so things have improved, but there is clearly still more to do.

“While the law governing equal pay can seem complex, its purpose in essence is very simple – to ensure that men and women doing equal work for the same or an associated employer get the same rewards for it.”

Practical guidance for employers

The Code gives employers practical guidance on how to promote equality of opportunity and avoid sex discrimination in pay structures.

The Equality Commissioner added: “It gives guidance on the scope of the Equal Pay Act, on the concepts and definitions of like work, work rated as equivalent and work of equal value and on pay during pregnancy and maternity, part-time work and occupational pension schemes.

“The Code is aimed mainly at employers, but employees and their representatives or advisers, for example, from a trade union or Citizens Advice Bureau, should also find it useful.

“It also sets out how the law is applied by the industrial tribunals, including the assessment of equal pay and employers’ defences to equal pay claims.”

While the Code of Practice is not legally binding, it is admissible in evidence in any proceedings under the Equal Pay Act before the industrial tribunal. The tribunal may take into account an employer’s failure to follow the provisions of the Code.

You can download the Code of Practice on Equal Pay from the Equality Commission website (PDF, 538K).

Free and confidential support

The Commission offers free and confidential advice, support and training to employers and organisations, to help them comply with the law.

The Equal Pay Code is just one of a wide range of online, print and staff resources available from the Equality Commission to help employers promote equality of opportunity and avoid discrimination.

You can find out more about the Equality Commission on the Equality Commission website.

Source: nibusinessinfo.co.uk