Equal pay

(14 Posts)
DIddled Wed 03-Oct-12 22:14:04

I have found out today that I am in a bonus scheme which relates to the grade below my own, when people at my grade level are in a more generous scheme , in fact one (male colleague) in my department with exactly the same job description is in the more generous scheme. I have had a number of awards for my performance , so they are clearly happy with my work (which is borne out by my appraisals and regular thanks/plaudits from my manager and director. )

I am really annoyed about this and generally about my pay. I have taken on significantly more complex work in recent years and I don't think my pay has reflected this. I am also pretty sure that I am underpaid compared with my peers, but obviously can't prove it. I also have significant professional qualifications over and above those my peers have, in fact some of them don't have any qualifications.

I feel stonewalled by my manager- I now carry out much of the work she did previously and so it's clearly not in her interests for me to be developed or promoted as the work we do is complex and would require significant handover, we are incredibly busy as well.

Anyway rant over- what I am asking is am I within my rights to raise the bonus scheme issue and can anyone give me a steer on whether I would be within my rights to look into an Equal Pay questionnaire/ claim- or would this be the kiss of death for my job?

Would really appreciate thoughts /opinions from any experts out there-TIA

StillSquiffy Thu 04-Oct-12 10:03:08

It is probably an admin cock-up and nothing more sinister. You are quite within your rights to raise it and be very vocal about it, but raising an equal pay claim is going far too far at this stage.

Raise it with your boss or - if you don't think your boss will handle it correctly - go straight to HR. Start with an email around the lines of "I am on grade X but seem to be in the wrong bonus pot, please investigate as a matter of urgency and let me know what is going on. Given that I have won awards for my performance, have XYZ quals and am performing so well in my role, I am sure you will be as keen as I am to get this corrected and to pass on any additional sums owed to me, in order to bring me in line with my colleagues. Could you please at the same time run a check on my base salary relative to my peers and suggest a time for a meeting to discuss such a review."

This wording is the kind of thing I'd expect to see from someone in that position as an opening gambit. Save the guns for later, see what they say in response first.

Grumpla Thu 04-Oct-12 10:09:56

Hmm, may be an admin cock-up, may not. Whatever happens always a good idea to have everything in writing from now on!

If you discuss the issue in person, follow up with an email (which you then print off and file securely - at home) giving an account of the conversation.

Are you in a union? If so contact your rep. They will be able to help you work out whether you have a claim and if so how to pursue it.

StillSquiffy Thu 04-Oct-12 10:12:01

By the way, outcome will almost certainly be:

1) If you are clearly in wrong bonus pot and the scheme is transparent enough for it to be very easily exposed, they will probably apologise and may offer you extra mid-yr bonus to compensate or promise to make up difference come next bonus time
2) If they think their bonus data is not transparent they may bluff that there was such and such a reason and therefore they won't do anything.
3) With regard to salary they will almost certainly seek to justify current position and waffle on about ensuring at the next salary review that your job description, performance and potential are all fully reviewed in detail relative to your peers to make sure that you continue to be paid appropriately.

A combination of 1 and 3 is the best outcome to hope for.

DIddled Thu 04-Oct-12 11:42:24

Thanks to both of you. I am confident enough about raising the bonus issue, the rest less so. There are no set pay structures within the business and they are really funny about salaries, I think/suspect because there are huge disparities. I don 't think HR would have to respond to a casual request for comparison across peer esp given we use broad banding. Tbh it would be more meaningful to have this information for the group of 8 or so in my department. That's why I mentioned the = pay questionnaire. Can they refuse a casual enquiry and can I ask for additional info ie sex/ region etc etc. Again TIA your assistance is hugely appreciatedsmile

StillSquiffy Thu 04-Oct-12 12:08:59

If they refuse to reply to a casual enquiry then they won't be surprised to get an equal pay questionnaire, but to send in one without trying to resolve it first would be very aggressive and would cause a big breakdown in the relationship - no matter how justified you may be, which is why going in slowly is best.

Even if they get a questionnaire (you can submit one of course at any time), they may well refuse to complete it, on the grounds that there are no 'comparators' for your role. If each of your roles varies (even if only slightly) then this defence is likely as a first response, and you would then need to take further action, involving lawyers initially, and possibly a tribunal. All very ugly indeed. It's only useful as a first port of call if you know for a fact that you do the same work, have the same job title and have the same job descriptions. And even then, some variations are allowed (eg if they have hire someone from another firm they often need to pay a premium to hire them in, and sometimes salary differentials remain for a couple of years).

Seriously, ask them first. Don't go straight in with a questionnaire. Sometimes salary differentials are there because people are not upfront in asking for more money. Most companies expect to be 'tested' in this area by employees form time to time.

DIddled Thu 04-Oct-12 13:12:25

Thanks squiff- arrrrggggh it's such a hassle- It might be easier for me to look for another job and then hope they make a counter offer!!! So fed up with it all and my boss acts as though we should be lucky to be here!!!

StillSquiffy Fri 05-Oct-12 02:43:34

Nah, don't be disheartened. It happens all the time in many firms. You work hard, are loyal, expect to be respected and paid accordingly. But it very rarely works that way. People who don't ask, don't get, generally. You will probably find the same in other firms.

Getting promoted/recognised will only happen when you take responsibility for it. Ask for a review, ask where you should be heading (or tell her) and what timelines you should be aiming for, what boxes you plan to tick and when, and get her to buy into all of this. She may not like it, but she has to go along with it and 'sponsor' it. Then every 3 months ask for a catch up meeting to review how things are going.

You should also seek out a female at a higher level and use her as a mentor (just go into the room, tell her you respect where she has got to in firm and ask her if she will be your mentor. That's it). Blokes usually choose 'influential' people as their mentors, women usually go for people they think they can click with There's merit in both. People get flattered when asked and always say yes. Then say you have concerns over career devt. Ask advice. If that goes well then you could possibly also raise issue of thinking you are being treated unfairly.

Don't give in - you'll find the same in the next place. Change your own behaviours and you will see a change in outcomes. There's an HR term called 'psychological contract' which is all out of kilter for you (google it if you are interested). You can take responsibility to balance it again and improve things. There's always a chance company may still be crap at the end of it, but even if that;s the case, your practice run here will hold you in really good stead for your next role.

DIddled Fri 05-Oct-12 09:32:05

Useful advice Squif, many thanks. I will do this- my manager works from home and I only get to see her once a fortnight- it would be easier to get an audience with the pope!

But I will try!

thanks again

SarkyWench Fri 05-Oct-12 13:23:11

fwiw I was in a similar situation.
When I raised it in an informal manner my manager immediately agreed to the increase. It was clear that the attitude was "pay as little as we think we can get away with and only make an effort bring staff in line with each other if they ask". With hindsight I see it as my fault for not realising that this was how it worked and for not asking earlier. Clearly other staff were being more forward about these issues.
There are usually gender issues tied up with attitudes on this IME.

DIddled Fri 05-Oct-12 14:04:29

Thanks sarky- useful . Going to have a little think....,

SarkyWench Fri 05-Oct-12 22:20:21

What's to think about?
IMO you having nothing to lose from asking and lots to gain.

DIddled Fri 05-Oct-12 22:51:06

I asked for a word and presented some info about the bonus scheme. It was like hmmmm I will need to speak to Hr that might not be right (in spite of it being as clear as clear )To be honest I am completely hacked off- I am knocking myself out and working at a senior level without the recognition or reward- and it's as though I should be grateful to have a job.

I think I might have reached an impasse- if they don't recognise what I am contributing then I don't feel I can do anymore.

Thanks keep any advice coming its really appreciated.

DIddled Fri 05-Oct-12 23:49:45

Squifs I did google the psych contract thing, it's absolutely fascinating and so accurate- but I am struggling to see how I can balance it- might be being a bit thick here- any advice? Thanks x

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