Openly comparing salaries and discussing who earns exactly what in the workplace has always been a fairly taboo subject.
The resentment that can be caused by stark differences in pay was perfectly highlighted in a ground-breaking Channel 4 documentary when employees and management at a plumbing firm disclosed to each other what they earn.
Now, the matter is the topic of much discussion.
It follows the announcement of plans to make large firms reveal data on the gender pay gap and the introduction of a National Living Wage.
Clear discrepancies in workers’ pay can spark jealousy, anger and bitterness and the idea of a transparent pay policy has been largely welcomed.
It is nearly 50 years since the strike by female machinists at Ford’s car factory in Dagenham, east London, led to the introduction of equal pay legislation in the UK.
Figures published late last year revealed the pay gap between the sexes was at its smallest since comparative records began 18 years ago. Despite this the UK has the sixth-highest pay gap in the EU, behind countries including Italy and Poland.
Under new government proposals businesses with more than 250 employees will be required to publish the average salary of male and female staff.
The idea is that it will force companies into increasing women’s wages in a bid to address any imbalance in salaries.
The government has stated it wants higher pay for everyone and this will also see the introduction of the National Living Wage next April.
For over-25s it will start at £7.20 an hour and reach £9 by 2020. The change will not affect people aged 24 and under currently on the minimum wage.
The aim of the National Living Wage is to enable workers to have a normal standard of living and to be able to pay for everyday things such as food and transport.
It is feared the extra cost of an increased wage bill will force businesses to raise prices and lead to job losses.
Councils have warned the move could add millions of pounds to its bills, while it is predicted retailers will pass on the cost to customers.