Historically, women have often been paid less than men for doing the same or equivalent work. A recent report reveals that an average woman working full time from the age of 18 to 59 years is estimated to lose out on £361,000 over the course of her working life compared with an equivalent male. This article considers the implementation in the UK of the Equality Act 2010 and its impact. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the topic and establishes to what extent the current law can facilitate the necessary changes to eradicate this gap. The paper recognizes that despite this legislation, problems can still be identified with equal pay in the UK. Many view the situation worsened by the coalition government’s backtracking somewhat on the commitments in the Equality Act to deal with the pay gap, most notably the removal of the legal requirement for employers to undertake equality audits.
The following quote highlights the present position: ‘Even though legislation on implementing equal pay has been in place for 40 years, the gender pay gap in Britain remains among the highest in the European Union. We still have a shocking gender pay gap of 15.5% that hurts women, society and the economy.’ The gender pay gap cannot and will not be closed until more is done to deal with the underlying issues.