Tesco has recently hit the headlines facing a multimillion-pound equal pay claim from over 8000 shop floor workers who are claiming that they are paid significantly less than their warehouse based colleagues.

Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s are facing the same claims with law firm Leigh Day representing eight Morrisons shop workers and stating that around 80,000 employees could be eligible to claim back pay totalling more than a billion pounds.

Birmingham City Council hit the headlines in 2014 selling off the National Exhibition Centre to help pay its £1bn equal pay bill and Glasgow City Council may be forced to sell SEC (Scottish Event Campus), which includes the Hydro Arena, or the Salvador Dali masterpiece Christ of St John of the Cross to settle their £500m and £1bn equal pay claim.

Whilst Tesco refute the tesco equal pay claim that their predominately female shop workers are deliberately paid substantially less than their male colleagues within the warehouse and distribution departments, employers must be very careful to ensure that they can prove that any discrepancy in pay is based on the nature of the role, the tasks within the role rather than the gender of the person carrying out the role.

It seems unlikely that any of the large supermarket chains would purposely pay men and women unequally as this would be a direct violation of the Equalities Act 2010.

The tesco equal pay claim isn’t two people being paid different undertaking the same role, the equal pay claims are based on whether the shop jobs and warehouse jobs have “equal value”.

Tesco will defend their position by arguing that the warehouse and distribution roles deserve greater pay due to the physical aspect of the job, whilst the shop floor workers will argue that their role is equally demanding as it involves dealing with customers on the front line and cash handling.

In order to compare the value of different jobs in order to achieve equal pay we support our clients in job evaluation schemes.

While investigating whether a role is paid fairly compared to another an employment tribunal will take into consideration several factors which include:

  • Knowledge and experience
  • Communication skills
  • Physical and emotional demands of the role

A job evaluation scheme can provide a basis for comparing the value of different jobs in order to achieve equal pay.

Using a job evaluation scheme provides a systematic approach to grading and pay as well as demonstrating that a business is following the Equalities Act 2010 and proving equal pay for equal work.

The job evaluation scheme evaluates the job not the post holder and this can be crucial if your business needs to defend itself against an equal pay claim.

The employment tribunal will consider that the job evaluation scheme meets four key criteria being analytical, impartial and thorough, reliable and gender neutral.

If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a
member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610.

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