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Casebook

Schools are not immune from the increasing number of equal pay cases. Both teaching and non-teaching staff have successfully claimed that they were not being paid equally for "like work" with male comparators.

It is the applicant's responsibility to choose the comparator(s) who must be employed in "like work" in the employment of the same employer or associated employer, although both predecessors and successors can be chosen. In Leverton v Clwyd County Council 1989, a nursery school nurse claimed that she was employed on work of equal value to 11 male comparators working for Clwyd - some on manual work and some on administrative work. None worked at the same school as the nurse, but all were employed on the same national joint committee terms and conditions of pay covering administrative, professional, technical and clerical services.

Hours of work and holiday arrangements were different, but these were discounted by the House of Lords, as these were individual and specific. The more general terms applied to all the employees named and, because they were "common", the applicant had established that she was in fact in employment on common terms with the comparators and was, therefore, doing "like work".

The House of Lords laid great stress on the fact that the concept of common terms and conditions applicable to employees at different establishments means there will be a wide variety of jobs whose individual terms will vary greatly.

However, collective agreements in a local authority or an individual school give rise to an assumption that the agreed general terms and conditions will cover work that is "broadly similar".

In the annual review of staff salaries, schools should take note of the "like work" requirements. For historic reasons many women are paid on lower salary grades than male counterparts. This is so both in teaching and non-teaching areas.

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