Gender Pay Inequality Evaluating Laws

Introduction

The discussion of the social issues is important as it helps raise popularity of the issue leading it to gain momentum in the society that is required to instigate a social change. In recent years, it is seen that women in the society though gained respect but still faced unequal pay at work as well as other problems even though working at the same pace with the men. Therefore, in this report, the aim is to identify the laws and their extent of practice in real condition to control the social issue of women and unequal pay at work. In order to execute it, the overview regarding the topic is to be provided followed by the laws that are present to resolve the social issues. Later, the success of the laws being put into practice in real condition is to be analysed by evaluating cases.

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The women and unequal pay is a key social issue to be focused on as all the individuals are equal before the law. Moreover, the women are sometimes seen to offer better effort than the men at work but due to unequal pay, their efforts remain improperly remunerated which makes the women lack value at work. Further, it is unethical to create pay discrimination on the basis of gender when both the men and women are providing equal effort for the same work being performed.

Women and Unequal Pay

The discrimination regarding women in society has been seen from centuries as they are mainly related to be involved in taking care of the home and family. In most of the cultures, the women are thought to be physically weak which makes the society to perceive the women be unable to execute hard work to earn bread for the family (Campbell, 2017). Thus, women are regarded as lower part of the society compared to men as they cannot actively get involved in earning finances to support the basic needs of the family to live. In the UK, the gender pay gap for all nature of employees is 8.6% which means that the women in the UK earn 8.6% less than men irrespective of any industry and trade. In skilled trade occupations, the gender pay gap is 23.9% whereas in process plant and machines operates the gender pay gap is 19.1% on an hourly basis (www.ons.gov.uk, 2018). This indicates that in skilled as well as unskilled trade irrespective of any condition the women are paid unequally compared to men even though they work hard equally to men.

The social issue of women and unequal pay have gained foothold in the society due to various reason out of which skills of women being undervalued by the employers is one of the key reason (Kelly, 2017). This means that the employers think that skills and competence of the women to execute a work that is being done by men is not equal and thus even though women put equal effort they are not to be provided equal pay as per men. The women are often regarded as less competent to be able to be on the managerial position as they are thought by the employers to be diverted from their work due to responsibilities in the family (Wilson, 2016). This thought has led to gender pay gap as the women at work are not offered proper promotion compared to men which makes them be at a higher position at work to earn the same salary at par with the men.

The social issue of women and unequal pay have gained foothold in the society due to various reason out of which skills of women being undervalued by the employers is one of the key reason (Kelly, 2017). This means that the employers think that skills and competence of the women to execute a work that is being done by men is not equal and thus even though women put equal effort they are not to be provided equal pay as per men. The women are often regarded as less competent to be able to be on the managerial position as they are thought by the employers to be diverted from their work due to responsibilities in the family (Wilson, 2016). This thought has led to gender pay gap as the women at work are not offered proper promotion compared to men which makes them be at a higher position at work to earn the same salary at par with the men. The women are often entrusted to look after the sick and elderly and they are thought to be dedicated towards household work making them experience frequent breaks in their career (Hoffman and Averett, 2015). Thus, the break in the career leads the employers to feel that paying equally to women is not effective as they are not going to be able to put similar effort in a continuous manner like the men. This, in turn, leads to act as background reason behind the rise of gender pay gap in the society.

Legislation

The Equal Pay Act 1970 was framed by the UK parliament to remove separate lower rate of pay for the women in comparison to men for same work (www.legislation.gov.uk, 1970). This was effective in the time as in the private sector the discrimination regarding pay for women was seen to be common and at an increased level. The implementation of the Act at the time offered legal help to the women who are paid lower rates compared to men even after working at the same level. It also legally prohibited private companies to avoid gender discrimination regarding wages for employees at work. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 was developed to make it unlawful to treat any woman or man less favourably in training, employment, education and other related matters (www.legislation.gov.uk, 1975). This was effective to provide scope to the women to have equal opportunity as per the men in the society to develop skills and competencies required for working professionally in any industry. The Act was also effective to rule out discrimination at work regarding gender in offering training and education to build a professional career apart from wage or salary that was previously only protected by the Equal Pay Act 1970.

The Equality Act 2010 later replaced the Equal Pay Act 1970 along with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Equality Provision Act 1995. The provision of the Equality Act 2010 includes avoiding indirect or direct discrimination along with any form of harassment, victimisation in public functions or services, association or transport, work, education and premi of women as well as men. The other provision was to change the definition regarding gender reassignment by avoiding the need for medical supervision. The Act also provided the provision that proper protection to the breastfeeding mothers are to be offered and indirect discrimination of all protected characteristics related to any uniform are to be avoided (www.gov.uk, 2010). This Act was effective not only to avoid gender pay gap discrimination regarding women but also was effective to offer women equal status in society.

Practice

The Equality Act 2010 is seen to be effectively put into practice to get proper judgement in cases related to gender pay gap. This is evident from the case of Asda Stores Ltd v Brierley CA (2019) in which 27,000 female employees of Asda who are working at the retail section reported that they are getting low pay than the male employees who are working at the distribution centre even though both are performing equal nature of work. However, Asda provided the claim that the retail and distribution operations are fundamentally different and both nature of work has evolved with time. The UK Court under the Equal Pay Act 1970 and Equality Act 2010 informed that it is duty of the employers to pay men and women equal pay for equal work. Moreover, the Northern hypothetical terms indicate that a man and woman do not require to work at the same place but it is enough that the job done by the men and women in the same establishment is making them employed under same terms (www.theguardian.com, 2016; www.huffingtonpost.co.uk; 2016; www.equalitylaw.eu; 2019). Thus, under the law and the Act, the court ruled out that Asda require resolving the gender pay gap and were punished to pay £100 million to the female employees.

In another case of Mrs Samantha Walker v Co-operative Group Ltd and Richard Pennycook (2018) it was reported that Samantha Walker who was working as a senior position in the HR department of Co-operative Group experienced unequal pay. This is evident as she reported that the company graded her performance on the basis of sex discrimination which leads her to be avoided of an adequate year-end appraisal. She was also offered less salary compared to her male counterparts who are working in the same position. The case was heard at the Employment Tribunal in Manchester where the judgement was provided under the Equality Act 2010. The judgment informed that the claimant’s work from the date she joined the company was equal in respect to her named comparators who are in the equivalent position (assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2018). The judgment made offered the parties to seek remedy by discussing between themselves and in case it is not done then the claimant would apply by informing her claim within estimated time to the court. Thus, the case informed that the equal pay laws are effectively implemented by the UK court and tribunals to offer justice to the women and reduce gender pay gap in the country.

Conclusion

The above discussion informs that the gender pay gap has its roots in the discrimination against women made over the ages in the society where they are thought being unable to execute hard work to arrange finances for the family. Moreover, it is thought that women are more concentrated towards their family and may seek gap in the employment which makes the companies think gender pay gap is justified. However, the Equality Act 2010 and Equal Pay Act 1970 are established by the UK government to tackle the issue of gender pay gap and offer equal pay structure and avoid discrimination towards women. The implications of the Acts were successfully seen in the case of Mrs Samantha Walker v Co-operative Group Ltd and Richard Pennycook (2018) as well as in Asda Stores Ltd v Brierley CA (2019).

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References

  • assets.publishing.service.gov.uk 2018, Employment Tribunals, Available at: [Accessed on: 05 April 2019]
  • Campbell, H., 2017. Superior Play, Unequal Pay: US Women's Soccer and the Pursuit for Pay Equity. USFL Rev., 51, p.545.
  • Hoffman, S.D. and Averett, S.L., 2015. Women and the economy: family, work and pay. Macmillan International Higher Education.
  • Kelly, J., 2017. Unfinished business: Women still unequal after all this time. In Education, Equality and Human Rights (pp. 10-28). Routledge.
  • Wilson, F.M., 2016. Women in management in the United Kingdom. In Women in management worldwide (pp. 109-120). Gower.
  • www.equalitylaw.eu 2019, European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, Available at:
  • www.gov.uk 2010, Equality Act 2010, Available at: ed on: 08 April 2019]

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