This weekend on the Politics Show Gill Dummigan examines the challenges facing local authorities who are having to reassess hundreds of thousands of employees' pay packets.
Historically, jobs done mainly by women, like school cooks, have been paid much lower than traditionally male jobs like bin collectors.
Councils were given 10 years to sort the differences - that time is up at the end of March.
Jenny Watson, Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission
We asked Jenny Watson, Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, what people can do if they think they're being paid less than a colleague for doing the same job.
1) Talk to someone else before you talk to your employer: for help and advice, or just to rehearse your case. You can speak to a Trade Union representative if you have one, or you can contact the EOC helpline on 0845 5901 601. And use a friend for a rehearsal before you talk to your boss.
2) Gather information on the job you and a colleague of the opposite sex are doing, such as job title, job description, qualifications, length of service, hours, pay and terms and conditions. To help get this information, you can ask your employer to fill out an equal pay questionnaire (available from the EOC's website) or your union may be able to help. It is helpful to record or keep a diary of the tasks you and your colleague are doing, detailing the time and skills required to do each task.
3) If you are still employed, take your evidence to your manager, employer or union. Explain that you think you are not receiving equal pay to that of your colleague and ask them to explain the difference. An equal pay dispute can be resolved informally through your manager, employer or union. In fact, they may welcome this being brought to their attention if they haven't realised there's a problem as it helps them to avoid risks in the future.
4) If an informal approach does not work or you are no longer employed, you can lodge a grievance, such as a written complaint. Your employer may have its own grievance procedure. However, if it does not there are statutory grievance procedures available. The procedure should detail the steps to be taken by you and your employer and the timescales for each step.
5) If you are not satisfied with the way in which your employer is dealing with your grievance, you may wish to consider legal options. If you wish to take this matter further at an Employment Tribunal, you must wait 28 days from the date of lodging your grievance with your employer before lodging an Employment Tribunal claim. You should get legal advice before you lodge an Employment Tribunal claim.
Have you got a story about low pay? Let us know what you think.
The Politics Show Sunday 25 February 2007 at 12.00pm on BBC One.
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