Assessment system for job demands

In order to be able to realise equal pay it is useful if the pay is based on a specific assessment system for job demands. The Equality Act does not, however, directly obligate employers to put such a system in place. Even if the pay is not based on a specific assessment system for job demands the employee has the right under the Equality Act to demand the same pay for the same work and work of equal value. In the last resort the employee can bring their employer to court if they claim to have work duties which are the same or of equal value to another employee used for comparison.

Even if an assessment system for job demands is used as a basis for the pay, this does not necessarily guarantee that the pay is in line with the requirements of the Equality Act. The assessment system may also be discriminatory or it can be applied in a discriminatory way. Discrimination may also relate to how the system takes into consideration the characteristics of female- or male-dominated work and how different characteristics are valued.

The European Court of Justice has expressed the principles that classification and assessment systems of work must fulfil for them not to be discriminatory (the Rummler case, 237/85):

  1. The criteria governing pay-rate classification must ensure that work which is objectively the same attracts the same rate of pay whether it is performed by a man or a woman;
  2. The use of values reflecting the average performance of workers of one sex as a basis for determining the extent to which work makes demands or requires effort or whether it is heavy constitutes a form of discrimination on grounds of sex, contrary to the directive;
  3. In order for a job classification system not to be discriminatory as a whole, it must take into account criteria for which workers of each sex may show particular aptitude. The assessment system must contain components that value characteristics of both female-dominated work and male-dominated work, if both of these are relevant to carrying out the duties.