With the deadline for big companies to publish their employee pay statistics coming up at the beginning of April, many companies come under threat of legal action as huge gender pay gaps are revealed. Nicola Coaker reports
British multinational grocery store, Tesco, is the latest company to have their pay statistics exposed. According to the law firm who will act for the employees’ up to 2,000 Tesco workers could benefit from the claim. This could end up costing Tesco up to £4 billion.
The gap is calculated from the difference between men working in distribution centers and women working on the shop floor. The men are currently earning £11 an hour, whereas the women are working for £2 less.
Law student, Lorenzo Agosto, explained the process of calculating the gender pay gap in big companies such as Tesco. He Says: “The Equality Act 2010… means that companies should calculate their employee pay data through the mean and median of both their hourly pay and bonus pay. They should also calculate the proportion of both genders who receive a pay rise as well as the proportion who are on higher pay bands.”
However, not all Tesco employees are unhappy. An anonymous employee has said: “to be honest, on the shop floor we all get the same pay… the people who work in the distribution centers get more than people on the shop floor but that’s understandable because they’re doing a lot of heavy lifting. I wouldn’t say that it affects me at all”.
Under the Equal Pay Act 1970, and the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to pay people unequally because of their gender. This applies to all employers, no matter how small. However, the new law means that only companies with over 250 employees are required to submit their figures before April.
The Fawcett Society, a group which campaigns for equality, says that parenting responsibilities can be a huge factor affecting pay. Women are more likely to be the gender caring for young children or elderly relatives. This makes them more likely to work part-time, resulting in their jobs being lower paid with fewer opportunities for progression.