The right to know: equal pay, privacy and the impact on professional relationships

Conference paper


Patrick, A. 2024. The right to know: equal pay, privacy and the impact on professional relationships. SLSA 2024: Annual Conference of the Socio-Legal Studies Association. University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK 26 - 28 Mar 2024
TypeConference paper
TitleThe right to know: equal pay, privacy and the impact on professional relationships
AuthorsPatrick, A.
Abstract

A right to know policy allows employees to request and receive from their employer the pay information of those colleagues performing the same work and work of equal value. It gives those who suspect they are receiving discriminatory pay a formal avenue to obtain information prior to launching an equal pay claim. This overcomes the taboo of talking about pay with colleagues, and can lead to settlement or decisions not to launch claims, thereby freeing up tribunal time. A right to know previously operated in the UK (and still operates in Northern Ireland), although it was repealed by the Coalition Government in 2013 on the dubious ground of relieving burden on business. A Private Member’s Bill introduced in 2020 would have restored the right, although it fell at the end of the Parliamentary session. While the new EU Pay Transparency Directive (which obliges member states to implement the right to know amongst other transparency measures) does not apply to the UK, it presents an opportunity to re-examine the policy. This paper considers the value of the right to know for those in the UK with suspicions about pay discrimination, and addresses some of the main objections to its reimplementation, including the burden on business, privacy concerns, and the impact on professional relationships of having pay information more readily accessible. The paper concludes that, while a right to know cannot combat systemic undervaluation of female-dominated roles, it is vital in removing barriers preventing women from pursing individual claims for equal pay.

Sustainable Development Goals5 Gender equality
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
LanguageEnglish
ConferenceSLSA 2024: Annual Conference of the Socio-Legal Studies Association
Publication process dates
Completed28 Mar 2024
Deposited02 Apr 2024
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/11q2y3

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