Disability pay gap widens to £3,700 a year

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Pay gap: Disabled women face an even bigger pay penalty of 35%, or more than £7,000 a year. Photo: Matt Dunham/PA

Disabled workers now earn a sixth (17.2%) less than non-disabled workers, with the pay gap currently standing at £3,731 a year for someone working 35 hours a week.

This pay gap means that people with disabilities effectively work for free the last 54 days of the year and stop being paid on Monday, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

Women with disabilities face the largest pay gap. Non-disabled men are paid on average 35% more than disabled women, which equates to £3.93 an hour, or £7,144 a year.

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Research also shows that the disability pay gap persists for workers throughout their careers. It starts at 20 at 65p an hour and rises steadily with age to peak at £3.55 an hour, or £6,461 a year, for disabled workers aged 40-44 .

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Everyone deserves a fair chance at a job with a living wage. Being disabled should not mean that you are paid less or that you are completely excluded from the labor market.

“It is time to introduce mandatory disability pay gap reporting to shine a light on inequalities at work. Without it, millions of disabled workers will be relegated to years of low wages and in-work poverty.

Not only are workers with disabilities paid less than workers without disabilities, but they are also more likely to be excluded from the labor market.

Workers with disabilities are now twice as likely as workers without disabilities to be unemployed (6.8% vs. 3.4%).

Research has found that disability pay gaps also vary by industry. The largest pay gap is in financial and industrial services, where the pay gap stands at 39% or £5.90 an hour, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing (24 %) and administration and support services (18%) .

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O’Grady added: “During the pandemic, many people with disabilities have been able to work flexibly or from home for the first time. We need to make sure this continues – flexible workplaces are accessible workplaces and offer everyone a better work-life balance.

“Ministers must change the law so that all jobs are advertised with flexible options clearly spelled out, and that all workers have the legal right to work flexibly from their first day on the job.”

The union body has written to Minister for Women and Equality, Kemi Badenoch, asking mandatory disability pay gap reporting for all employers with more than 50 employees.

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