Leading campaigning charity, The Fawcett Society, has launched an equal pay advice service, as new research reveals one in three workers are unaware pay discrimination is illegal.
The research, conducted by The Fawcett Society, has shown that a culture of pay secrecy persists in UK workplaces, which allows pay discrimination to thrive.
Launched on the eve of Equal Pay Day on Saturday 10th November, the day in the year when women effectively start to work for free, the research found that six out of ten workers say they would be uncomfortable asking a colleague how much they earn. Half of those surveyed say their managers would respond negatively to more openness, indicating they think it is difficult to challenge.
In response to this research, the charity have teamed up with employment law charity YESS Law to launch a new Equal Pay Advice Service, funded by an Equal Pay Fund which has been started thanks to the generous donation of backdated pay from former BBC China Editor, Carrie Gracie. The service will be targeted at those on low incomes who believe they are experiencing pay discrimination and who do not have access to legal advice, enabling them to resolve the situation with their employer. They are also launching a fundraising drive on GoFundMe.
Speaking about the Carrie Gracie said, ““The fight for equal pay often pits a lone woman against a very powerful employer.”
“Without the support of other BBC Women and without great legal advice, I would have struggled to get through my own equal pay ordeal.”
“Many women in other workplaces have since told me about their feelings of loneliness and helplessness in confronting pay discrimination.”
“I feel particularly concerned about low paid women who may not be able to afford legal advice, and I hope support from our new Equal Pay Advice Service will help give them the confidence to pursue their rights.”
Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society Chief Executive, added, “In workplaces all over the country, pay discrimination is able to thrive and is more common that people realise because of a culture of pay secrecy which persists.”
“People do not know their basic rights and do not know what their colleagues earn.”
“This Equal Pay Day we are asking you to talk about pay at work, share news about the Fund with #GetEqual on #EqualPayDay and donate to support via our GoFundMe page.”
“With your help we can ensure many more women have access to justice and get equal pay.”