Equal pay legislation and its impact on the gender pay gap

Equal pay legislation has been in existence for over forty years in the UK and the legal rules dealing with equal pay have been consolidated and amended recently with the implementation of the Equality Act 2010. However, despite this problems can still be identified with equal pay in the UK most notably the continued existence of a sizeable gender pay gap. This article will outline the current legal rules on equal pay and analyse their effectiveness in addressing the issue of the gender pay gap. It is clear that a problem such as the gender pay gap is often caused in society by deeply held stereotypical, discriminatory views and in employment by employers (and some employees) with institutionalised discriminatory attitudes and behaviour. These causes of the gender pay gap militate against it being tackled solely by the law (specifically equality legislation). In this article we will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the topic and establish to what extent the current law can facilitate the necessary changes to eradicate this gap. In areas where it is not sufficiently robust to do this we will analyse what further changes are required through adjustments in the legal rules in the UK. Clearly much is to be gained from eradicating the gender pay gap however, as will be seen there are a number of obstacles to achieving this