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Cumbria earmarks £15 million for equal pay claim

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Cumbria County Council has increased the amount it has set aside to cover the cost of an equal pay claim to £15.3 million.

The council originally set aside £8.7 million for the claims, which were brought on behalf of nearly 3,000 female employees by two unions – the GMB and Unison.

Personnel Today quotes the deputy council leader Cllr Joan Stocker as saying: “Cumbria is not alone in facing equal pay costs, but this is potentially the largest single financial problem that the council has ever had to face.”

In March an employment tribunal found that the council was paying 2,960 women workers, including carers, cleaners and catering staff, less than their male colleagues.

Lawyers predicted that if pay was backdated some would receive £60,000 but the council has appealed against the ruling.

The Equal Pay Act gives an individual a right to the same contractual pay and benefits as a person of the opposite sex in the same employment, where the man and the woman are doing:

  • Like work; or

  • Work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study; or

  • Work that is proved to be of equal value.

However, if there is a genuine reason for a difference in pay and benefits that is not related to gender, then the employer will not be required to provide the same pay and benefits.

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