People doing the same job or work of equal value should get the same or equal pay; but in many cases they don't even though though the law says they should.

Gender pay

Closing the gender pay gap

Following a study that found women at London School of Economics earned 10.5% less than men with similar experience and output, female academics are set to be given salary increases aimed at redressing the gender pay gap at the institution.

This follows University of Essex's decision to move its female professors up three pay points to bring average salaries in line with male counterparts.

Definition of equal pay

Employers must give men and women equal treatment in the terms to conditions of their employment contract if they are employed to do:

  • 'like work' - work that is the same or broadly similar
  • work rated as equivalent under a job evaluation scheme
  • work found to be of equal value in terms of effort, skill or decision making.

Current pay gap

Although equal pay legislation has been in place for over 40 years, the gender pay gap in Britain remains the highest in the European Union at over 18%. In higher education, for all academics the gender pay gap is 12.0% and in further education in England the average gender gap is 2.3% but there is a wide variation and nationally equates to women being paid a total of £16.7m less than their male counterparts.

Reasons for the pay gap

There are many reasons why the gender pay gap exists, including discrimination against women in the workplace, discrimination in pay systems, the value placed on work predominantly undertaken by women and interrupted careers. Equal pay issues can be compounded by the lack of fair job evaluation schemes, no application of the principles of the Framework Agreement (in HE) and non-compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Women members - what next

Telephone purple If you are a UCU member and think you have a claim or want to discuss it further call 020 7756 2616
(lines open 10:00 to 17:00 Mon to Fri)

Women members will want to know if and why they are being paid less than their male colleagues. Questions need to be asked about how pay is determined and if the employer can justify the gaps in base pay. Here are links and information to get you started:

'Rate for the job' - online tool to enable you to find out more about your pay

Getting equal pay - questions that might help [119kb]

Public sector equality duties toolkit [161kb]

JNCHES equal pay reviews guidance [382kb] - This guidance sets out what HEIs need to do to meet their obligations with regard to equal pay and the gender pay gap. It also outlines the different obligations that exist in the four nations of the UK. It should be the basis for the discussions you have with your employers about they begin to tackle the underlying reasons for the gender pay gap.

Guidance for equal pay in FE (in England) and the checklist for carrying out equal pay reviews [35kb]

FE joint agreement on guidance on equality [520kb]

AoC: analysing the gender pay gap - toolkit for colleges, Dec 16 [636kb]

Gender pay gap branch bargaining guidance: please log in to access this document.

Gender pay gap report 2014-15: please log in to access this document.

Holding down women's pay

UCU league table of top 30 colleges and universities with the worst gender pay inequalities:  Holding down women's pay, updated Apr 16 [116kb]