Action is urgently needed to close the disability pay gap
Tuesday 14th November is Disability Pay Gap Day. It’s the day when the average Disabled worker stops getting paid for the rest of the year, compared to the average non-disabled worker. This means that that Disabled workers will work 47 days without pay this year.
Although the disability pay gap has fallen in comparison to research published in November 2022, disabled workers are still earning £1.90 less per hour than non-disabled workers. That’s a pay gap of 14.6 per cent and means Disabled workers take home £3,460 a year less than non-disabled workers - for doing the same work.
To put this into context, that's £66.50 per week – over what the average household spends on their weekly food shop (£62.20). Although economic cost pressures may be easing right now, there's no doubt we're all still feeling the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
What's more, the TUC's new analysis highlights the lack of progress on tackling the disability pay gap. In 2013/14 (the first comparable data available) it was 13.2%. And it's only now factionally just below the 15% first reported by the TUC using the data from 2016/17.
And the gap is even bigger for Disabled women. Non-disabled men are paid on average 30% more than disabled women. That equates to huge £6,780 a year.
The research also shows that the disability pay gap persists for workers for most of their careers. At age 25 the pay gap is £1.73 an hour hitting a high of £3.18 an hour, or £111.30 a week, for disabled workers aged 40 to 44.
Further analysis shows that there are regional and industrial differences in the pay gap too. The highest pay gap is in Wales (21.6% or £2.53 an hour), and in financial and industrial services where the pay gap stands at a huge 33.2% (£5.60 an hour).
New deal for working people
The TUC is calling for government action to end the discrimination disabled workers face in the jobs market.
The union body says Labour’s New Deal for Working People would be a “game changer” for workers’ rights.
Labour has pledged to deliver new rights for working people in an employment bill in its first 100 days.
Labour’s new deal would:
- Introduce disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting.
- Strengthen flexible working rights by introducing a day one right to work flexibly.
- Ban zero-hours contracts to help end the scourge of insecure work.
- Give all workers day one rights on the job. Labour will scrap qualifying time for basic rights, such as unfair dismissal, sick pay, and parental leave.
- Ensure all workers get reasonable notice of any change in shifts or working time, with compensation that is proportionate to the notice given for any shifts cancelled or curtailed.
- Beef up enforcement by making sure the labour market enforcement bodies have the powers they need to undertake targeted and proactive enforcement work and bring civil proceedings upholding employment rights.
It’s time for a step change. Labour’s New Deal for Working People would be an absolute game changer for disabled workers - Paul Nowak, TUC General Secretary