Occupational health nurses are surprisingly low-paid, according to Kevin McNerney, an RCN solicitor. McNerney told the conference that OH nurses, in particular in the private sector, are paid less than other employees doing work of equal value, for instance health and safety officers.
He outlined the steps involved in making an equal pay claim:
- Try to negotiate a rise in salary
- If that is not possible then lodge a claim with the employment tribunal
- If it goes to a court hearing you will need witnesses and documentation.
One case can have strategic implications that will improve pay for others in that job or department he pointed out, and it is not necessary to prove that a male employee is paid more for doing exactly the same work, only that your work is of equal value to his, involving similar levels of responsibility or demanding similar qualifications.
McNerney concluded by urging occupational health nurses who felt that they were being unfairly treated to contact their RCN regional office.