Equal Pay Act 1970
Parliament of the United Kingdom
|Territorial extent||England and Wales; Scotland|
The Equal Pay Act 1970 is an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament which prohibits any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment. It was passed by Parliament in the aftermath of the 1968 Ford sewing machinists strike and came into force on 29 December 1975. The term pay is interpreted in a broad sense to include, on top of wages, things like holidays, pension rights, company perks and some kinds of bonuses. The legislation has been amended on a number of recent occasions to incorporate a simplified approach under European Union law that is common to all member states.
The Equal Pay Act 1970 was repealed in 2010, but its substantive provisions were reproduced in the Equality Act 2010.
Elements of a claim 
For an employee to claim under this Act they must prove one of the following:
- That the work done by the claimant is the same, or broadly the same, as the other employee.
- That the work done by the claimant is of equal value (in terms of effort, skill, decision and similar demands) to that of the other employee.
- That the work done by the claimant is rated (by a job evaluation study) the same as that of the other employee.
Once the employee has established that they are employed on 'equal work' with their comparator then they are entitled to 'equal pay' unless the employer proves that the difference in pay is genuinely due to a material factor which is not the difference in gender.
Single Status 
In 1999, trades unions negotiated Single Status job evaluation for local government, hoping that this would enforce the Equal Pay Act without needing to take numerous pay claims to industrial tribunal. Single Status was intended to establish whether jobs were of equal value, and bring in a pay model which would remove the need for equal pay claims. Jobs which had previously been classed as manual or administrative/clerical would be brought together under one pay scale and one set of terms and conditions.
The implementation of Single Status in local government led to many claims being brought by employees as they sought compensation for past pay disparity.
- Allonby v Accrington and Rossendale College  IRLR 224
- Barber v Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance Group (C-262/88)  1 QB 344, definition of pay including occupational pension schemes
- Hayward v Cammell Laird Shipbuilders Ltd (No 2)  AC 894, equality clause implication under EqPA 1970 s 1
- Home Office v Bailey  IRLR 757, presumption of discrimination with a pay disparity
- Strathclyde Regional Council v Wallace  1 WLR 259, purpose of legislation not fair wages
- Shield v E Coomes Holding Ltd  1 WLR 1408, claimant must prove they are in like work to an actual comparator
- Capper Pass Ltd v Lawton  QB 852, work must be 'of the same or a broadly similar nature'
- Eaton Ltd v Nuttall  1 WLR 549, the work may be rated as equivalent under EqPA s 1(5) through a job evaluation scheme which is 'thorough in analysis and capable of impartial application'
- Pickstone v Freemans plc  AC 66, a 'token man' defance does not defeat a claim
- Macarthys Ltd v Smith (No 2)  QB 180, a predecessor is a valid comparator
- Diocese of Hallam Trustee v Connaughton  ICR 860, a successor is a valid comparator
- Leverton v Clywd County Council  AC 706, 'common terms and conditions' can include those under collective agreements
- British Coal Corporation v Smith  ICR 515, terms and conditions must be 'substantially comparable' not identical
- Lawrence v Regent Office Care Ltd  IRLR 822, contracting out, an associated employer and a 'single source' test under art 141 TEC
- Ratcliffe v North Yorkshire County Council  ICR 833, contracting out
- North Cumbria Acute Hospitals NHS Trust v Potter  IRLR 176, 'single source' test
- Defrenne v Sabena  ICR 547 (C-43/75), the 'same establishment or service' definition
- Clay Cross (Quarry Services) Ltd v Fletcher  ICR 1, personal factors in the material difference defence
- Rainey v Greater Glasgow Health Board  AC 224, labour scarcity or geographical factors in the defence
- Enderby v Frenchay Health Authority  ICR 112 (C-127/92), defence through the 'state of the employment market' under the proportionality principle
- Glasgow County Council v Marshall  ICR 196, under the SDA 1975 if no evidence of discrimination is found, a pay disparity need not be justified
- Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council v Bainbridge and Surtees v Middlesbrough Borough Council  EWCA Civ 885,  IRLR 776
- GMB v Allen  EWCA Civ 810,  IRLR 690
See also 
- UK employment discrimination law
- Equal Pay Act of 1963, the United States legislation which influenced the Act
- Equal pay for women
- The Reunion, BBC, published 2003, accessed 2010-10-04
- Equality Act an important milestone says Unite, Unite, 1 October 2010-10-01, accessed 2010-10-08
- Equal pay heroes honoured, TUC, 2006-06-05
- Women's Worth: the story of the Ford sewing machinists notes by Sue Hastings, Sue Hastings, 2006, accessed 201-10-08
- Directive 97/80/EC, on the burden of proof in sex discrimination claims.
- Treaty of the European Community, whose Article 141 address equal pay between men and women. Article 13, introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1996, is the basis for Directives 2000/78/EC and 2000/43/EC
- Equal Pay Act 1970 as amended by The Equal Pay Act 1970 (Amendment) Regulations 2003 SI 2003/1656
- Directive 2006/54/EC, on the equal treatment of men and women in employment regarding the definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and provisions on maternity. It comes fully into effect in August 2008, and just does a consolidating job and repeals a number of previous Directives, including 76/207/EEC and 2002/73/EC.