An age-related equal pay claim is now due to be considered by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after the Labour Court referred the case in February of this year.

Tomas Horgan and Claire were both in their early 20s when they began teaching. They are both working on lower pay scales as a result.

These lower pay scales for teachers were introduced in 2011. Of those new entrant teachers that started in this year, 75% were aged 25 or younger. The argument that has been put forward by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) is that the lower salary scales are indirectly age discriminatory as they are more likely to be applied to younger workers.

The cases of Horgan and Keegan were heard separately by the now-defunct Equality Tribunal. They two cases lost, but appeals were made by INTO to the Labour Court and a number of hearings were held last year. The Labour Court has now referred the case to the ECJ.

INTO suggest that, over the course of a career, individual losses could be €100,000.

After attending teacher conferences, Education Minister Richard Bruton commented that there was no money in the pay budget up to the end of 2020 to reconcile the two-tier salary scales. However, in a move sure to offer some hope to INTO, Mr Bruton has said previously that the demand for elimination of the two tier pay system was “justifiable”.

As the case has only just been submitted, it will be many months before any decision is made.