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Teaching assistants’ success in equal pay claims

28 June 2013

Female workers in schools can compare themselves to local authority grounds men, refuse workers and leisure attendants when bringing an equal pay claim, following a landmark decision by the Supreme Court.

The case turned on whether the workers could be held to be ‘in the same employment’, despite being employed on different terms and conditions at different establishments. The court found that the correct test was whether the comparators would still be employed on broadly similar terms if they worked in schools, and that there was sufficient evidence to succeed on that basis.

As a result, over 250 female classroom assistants, support for learning assistants and nursery nurses could be entitled to backdated bonuses; “an estimated £12 million in lost pay” according to UNISON, which represented the female workers. The judgment will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the near 50,000 equal pay claims which are currently outstanding.

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