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Threat of legal action against Avery Healthcare over equal pay

Letter before claim sent to Avery Healthcare claiming women paid less than men in jobs of equivalent value

Posted on 02 December 2015

Law firm Leigh Day have sent a letter before claim in advance of potential High Court proceedings on behalf of 62 employees of Avery Healthcare Limited in an equal pay claim which is expected to result in hundreds of claims against the privately-run care home provider.

All those taking legal action are female care providers employed by Avery who claim that men, carrying out roles of an equal value, are paid significantly more than they are, despite women being predominantly the care providing staff. In the letter before claim lawyers for the women propose a ‘maintenance man / site caretaker’ as a comparative role in terms of equal value.

They argue that these roles, predominantly if not exclusively male roles, are paid over £1.00 an hour more than the female ‘equivalent’ care staff.

Chris Benson a partner at the law firm Leigh Day, the UK’s leading employment firm advising claimants and trade unions on Equal Pay, said:

"Despite our extensive experience in the field of equal pay we were shocked to see the inequality between female carers and male staff undertaking work of equal value within care homes run by Avery.”

Leigh Day now represent over 60 carers with the final number possibly in excess of a 1,000 claims as the full scale of the unlawful payments offered to carers becomes clear.

Chris Benson continued “While it is recognised in some sectors that women are undervalued and underpaid I did not expect to see this happen in care homes. These women carry out the most important role in this organisation, caring for vulnerable residents.

"Time and again it has been shown that care staff perform a difficult job under a lot of pressure to ensure the best possible care is provided. The fact that Avery should pay these female staff members less than jobs of equal to those predominantly done by men is astonishing.”

A letter before claim has now been sent to Avery seeking a resolution to the claims. The letter states that whilst It’s not possible at this stage to quantify each of the individual claims, the overall value of the claims is substantial and would warrant proceedings being issued in the High Court.