HL Deb 26 April 2004 vol 660 c74WA
Viscount Astor

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether under the Equal Pay Act 1970 an employer may pay female staff a lower hourly rate of pay than male staff while providing female staff with other benefits, such as accommodation, which make the total package for female staff greater than that for male staff. [HL2322]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville

A woman can claim equal pay with a male comparator who earns a higher rate of basic pay than she does, even if other elements of her pay package are more favourable than his. Under the Equal Pay Act 1970 a woman can compare any term in her contract with the equivalent term in her comparator's contract. This means that each element of the pay package has to be considered separately and it is not sufficient to compare total pay. Any term which is less favourable (whether in the man's or the woman's contract) would need to be modified to be as favourable unless the employer can show that there is a genuine material factor for the difference which is not the difference of sex.