Doctrine of Equal Pay for Equal Work – When can be invoked

In Deb Narayan Shyam v. State of West Bengal, (2005) 2 SCC 286, the Court summarized as to when doctrine of equal pay for equal work would apply:
“Large number of decisions have been cited with regard to the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’. The principle is settled that if the two categories of posts perform the same duties and function and carry the same qualification then there should not be any distinction in pay scale between the two categories of posts similarly situated. But when they are different and perform different duties and qualifications for recruitment being different, then they cannot be said to be equated so as to qualify for equal pay for equal work.”
In State of Madhya Pradesh v. Ramesh Chandra Bajpai, 2009 (11) SCALE 619, the court said that it is well settled that the doctrine of equal pay for equal work can be invoked only when the employees are similarly situated. Similarity in designation or nature or equation of work is not determinative for equality in the matter of pay scales. The court has to consider the factors like the source and mode of recruitment/appointment, qualifications, nature of work, the value thereof, responsibility, reliability, experience, confidentiality, functional need, etc., In other words the equality clause can be invoked in the matter of pay scale only when there is a wholesale identity between the two posts.
That doctrine of equal pay for equal work can be invoked only when the employees are similarly situated and that similarity of the designation or nature or quantum of work is not determinative of equality in the matter of pay scales and that the court has to consider several factors and only when there was wholesale identity between the holders of two posts, equality clause can be invoked and not otherwise. Vishal Chand v. State of U.P., 2017 (1) AWC 841.

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Filed under Employment Law, Equal Pay for Equal Work

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