Banner image: Kay Collins (right) with Fawcett CEO Sam Smethers

Our Equal Pay Bill

50 years on from the Equal Pay Act in 1970, we're proposing a Bill to modernise the law. The time for change is now.

On 20 October the Equal Pay Implementation and Claims (EPIC) Bill will go to Parliament in the form of a ten minute rule bill. This includes updating Equal Pay legislation to include the Right to Know. Write to your MP now and ask them to support the Bill. 

Our new 2020 data shows why equal pay law in the UK is not fit for purpose.

The data reveals that:

  • Four in ten people (40%) do not know that women have a right to equal pay for work of equal value.
  • Only one-third of people (36%) know women have a legal right to ask male colleagues about their salary if they suspect pay discrimination.
  • In most workplaces, people do not talk openly about what they earn – with only 24% reporting that salaries are discussed openly in their workplace.

To tackle this problem, we are pushing for our new Equal Pay Bill which would modernise the law on equal pay. The proposals, launched in Parliament on 5 February, would give women who suspect they are not getting equal pay the ‘Right to Know’ what a male colleague doing the same work is paid. This would give women the opportunity to resolve equal pay issues without having to go to court which would be a huge step forward.

For more information about our bill you can read our Equal Pay Bill Q & A.

Sign our petition to give women the #RightToKnow

Kay (pictured above) is one of many women severely affected by unequal pay. She explains, "After ten years of working as a chef for a large catering company, I found out I was being paid much less than a male colleague - even though we did the exact same job. He was paid £22k - I was being paid £6K less."

Kay took her employer to court for pay discrimination and she won. But, she says, "the process cost me a lot of money and confidence - and had a severe impact on my health and my family."

That's why Kay has joined forces with us here at Fawcett, and launched a petition for the 'Right To Know' to help show the government how much public support there is for our Bill and that urgent action is needed.

> Sign the petition now to support the 'Right to Know'

Thank you to everyone who has already helped us reach a staggering 55,000 signatures. If you haven't yet, then please add your name now and help us reach our target of 75,000!

Why we need the 'Right to Know'

50 years since the Equal Pay Act of 1970, the law that's supposed to address pay discrimination is still not fit for purpose. Many women are still paid less than men for the same job, and 4 in 10 aren't even aware that they have a right to equal pay for work of equal value.

Our research also found that the majority (60%) of women in workplaces across the UK either don’t know what their male colleagues earn, or believe they are earning less than men who are doing the same job.

Pay discrimination is thriving because we have a culture of pay secrecy in the UK and employers can get away with it because there is no transparency. At the moment, getting information about the pay of a male colleague doing equal work requires a lengthy court case — we cannot leave women guessing.

Women who suspect they are being discriminated against should have the right to know if they are being paid less than a male colleague for doing the same job. If requested, employers should have to provide this information.

By giving women the right to know, our Equal Pay Bill would empower women who are being discriminated against at work to get the information they need to challenge this injustice.

Watch the video below to hear the voices of women who have been through pay discrimination.

To find out more about our research and legal analysis, read our report Why Women Need a Right to Know.

Our free Equal Pay Advice Service

The Equal Pay Advice Service was made possible by a generous donation of backdated pay from former BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie and support from the public and Fawcett members. Support the service and women challenging unequal pay, by donating towards the Fund today.