Salary law


The term salary law, or pay law, usually refers to the laws associated with compensation and employment.

Salary law may be seen by businesses to restrict an employer’s options when it comes to maximising the value of an employee. Conversely it may be seen as much-needed protection for employees who generally hold very weak bargaining positions.

How does salary law work?

Salary law is a subset of employment law, and it deals with the different legal requirements associated with a salary such as:

  • Overtime pay
  • Compensation upon termination of work
  • Holiday pay

There are certain factors which are dictated by law, and employers must respect these minimum levels.

Disputes over pay

If you are part of a dispute regarding salary law, the most important document to examine would be the contract of employment for the employee in dispute.

There is no guarantee, however, that all the stipulations of the contract are enforceable in law. Some contract terms have been known to be ignored or altered by the courts if they are deemed to be unfair. It’s a very complicated area of law, and the advice of a specialist solicitor is recommended.

Public sector pay

Under the common principles of contract law in England and Wales, the courts should avoid dictating terms in contracts between two private parties such as a private-sector employer and a private-sector employee.

When the government is the employer, however, it may use salary law to specify the level of compensation it offers its employees. This makes it impossible for local or regional managers to offer salaries above a certain amount.

Salary discrimination

The UK’s partnership in the European Union means that the laws relating to employment are also affected by the decisions of the European Commission.

The equal pay employment law (gender discrimination law) is an example of such a development. It is now illegal for:

  • An employer to pay a wage to women that is different from that which would be paid to men if the position is of a similar nature

If the work being done by the employees is similar, the employer cannot circumvent this rule by, for example, having a different title or shift for the man and woman.

Many people think that equal pay is now a reality in all industries, however, this is not the case and is correlated to the 'glass ceiling' experienced by woman in the workforce. In employment law, equal pay claims are still common claims.

Worried that you are not being paid enough? See our information page on minimum wage law for guidance.

Do you believe you are owed some compensation due to a dispute with your salary? Contact Law can put you in touch with a specialist employment lawyer to help resolve the dispute. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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