On the radio this morning, Chris Evans in response to the backlash regarding the publication of the salaries of BBC stars said he is carrying out work and being paid according to his contract which is true and ultimately the press attention should be directed to the BBC not Mr Evans for creating this disparity.
It is over 40 years since the Equal Pay Act came into force and this was designed to redress the balance where employers were openly giving different rates of pay to men and women doing the same job. While there have been steps to improve the gender pay gap these figures show that there may be a way to go.
The BBC may face problems with potential discrimination and/or equal pay claims if the published salaries show that a female presenter doing the same job is being paid less than a male presenter.
The BBC is considering asking male presenters to take a pay cut but this would have to be with the male presenters’ agreement and if they unilaterally change their contract without agreement then they could face legal claims from the male presenters as well so it is a situation which has to be carefully handled.
It is a lesson for business to look at the salaries of men and women doing the same job and make sure that there is no obvious disparity because if there is this could lead to potential claims which can be costly for any company. Under the Equality Act it is also compulsory for companies with more than 250 employees to publish certain data on gender salary differences.
It will be interesting to see how the BBC female presenters react, successful claims can require payment of arrears of back pay for up to 6 years. In addition to this, equal pay claims do not have to just cover pay but also other contractual and even non-contractual benefits such as discretionary bonuses.
This issue is likely to continue on.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.