1. What is the basis of my claim?
If you are employed by the Council and work in a care home or school as a care assistant, or doing laundry, cooking or other domestic work, you may have a claim under the Equal Pay Act 1970.
Many such jobs, performed mainly by women, are equal in terms of skill and effort required to other jobs which are performed mainly by men, for example, gardeners, refuse collectors and road sweepers. However, often the men receive more money, by way of a bonus. In some areas, such bonuses have been as much as 40% of salary. Under the Equal Pay Act 1970, you may be entitled to claim 6 years of the difference in pay between you and them.
For example, if you earn £12,000 a year, you could expect to be awarded up to £24,000 in back pay.
2. Does it cost me anything?
All claims are conducted on a "No Win, No Fee" basis. This means that you only pay us out of any compensation you receive. If you lose, you pay us nothing.
We take a small percentage of any compensation you receive.
3. Will my Union help me?
If you are a member of a Trade Union, your Union should assist you. However, generally, Trade Unions have not been lodging Equal Pay claims on behalf of their members and are seeking to negotiate a settlement with the Council. The problem with this approach is that each day that goes by means that your claim reduces by one day.
4. Does my employer need to know?
Yes, although this will have no impact upon your work. You are making a claim against the Council and not against your individual care home or school. The Council will have been aware of the inequality in pay for a period of time and these claims will come as no surprise.
5. What will I need to do?
Very little. We will do as much as we can on your behalf.
6. Do I pay tax on my winnings?
Yes. You pay the same amount of tax as had your employer not underpaid you to begin with.
7. How long do claims take?
It is difficult to predict. It depends upon matters such as the strength of your case and the attitude adopted by your employer.
8. Are there time limits?
Yes. There are two rigid time limits.
9. I am a male cook, cleaner, care assistant or nurse, can I claim?
Yes, although your claim will be a little different. We present your claim at the same time as your female colleagues'. However, we ask for it to be suspended. When at some point in the future your female colleagues' claims succeed, we name them as your comparators and your claim proceeds.
10. What are the next steps?
Once we have met with you and taken a short statement from you, we will send a letter to your employer on your behalf saying, in brief, that we believe you are underpaid and owed money.
We will then send your employer an Equal Pay Act questionnaire, demanding information about inequalities in pay and their alleged justification for these.
We will present a claim to the Employment Tribunal on your behalf and we will pursue this quickly and efficiently.
What are our contact details?
41 Church Street
Direct Dial: 0121 710 5848
Freephone: 0500 100 199
Fax: 0121 233 4546