Equal pay - the law and best practice



Despite what the name suggests, equal pay legislation is only concerned with sex discrimination in pay and in other contractual terms and conditions.

In Northern Ireland, sex discrimination in pay is prohibited by three separate but related domestic statutes, namely:

  • the Equal Pay Act (NI) 1970
  • the Sex Discrimination (NI) Order 1976
  • the Pensions (NI) Order 1995

The law's development was influenced by and, post-Brexit, continues to be influenced by European Union law in this field.

There are sound business and legal reasons for implementing equal pay between men and women. Pay systems that are transparent and value the entire workforce send positive messages about an organisation's values and ways of working. Fair and non-discriminatory systems represent good management practice and contribute to the efficient achievement of business objectives by encouraging maximum productivity from all employees.

This guide explains how you can make sure you are paying male and female employees equally.

  • Equality Commission Employer Helpline
    028 90 500 600
Developed with:
  • Equality Commission