Women work for free for a fifth of the year, says TUC

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- Women’s Pay Day – the day the average woman starts getting paid compared to the average man – is on Tuesday (7 March)
- Women effectively work for free for 66 days compared to men
- But in some jobs women  have to wait until April or even May for their Women’s Pay Day

New analysis by the TUC published today (Friday) reveals that the average woman has to wait nearly a fifth of a year (66 days) before she starts to get paid, compared to the average man.

The current gender pay gap for all full-time and part-time male and female employees stands at 18%. This pay gap means that across the board women effectively work for free for the first 66 days of the year, until Women’s Pay Day on Tuesday (7 March).

In a number of key industries – even in jobs dominated by female workers – women have to wait until even later in the year for their Women’s Pay Day:

  • In education, the gender pay gap is currently 27%, so the average woman effectively works for free for more than a quarter of the year (97 days) and has to wait until the 7 April before she starts earning the same as the average man.
  • In health and social work, the average woman waits 69 days for her Women’s Pay Day on 10 March.
  • The longest wait for Women’s Pay Day comes in finance and insurance. There the gender pay gap is the equivalent of 137 days – more than a third of the year – before Women’s Pay Day kicks in on 17 May.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The UK has one of the worst gender pay gaps in Europe. Even in industries where women dominate, like education, they get paid far less than men.

“Paying lip service to the problem is not good enough. Companies that don’t pay women the same as men for work of equal value are breaking the law. But with Employment Tribunal fees of £1,200, too few women can afford to access justice when bad bosses break the law.

“We also need to remove the barriers that stop women going into better paid, male-dominated professions. And we must improve pay for vital, but undervalued, jobs that are predominantly done by women, like social care.

“Employers must do more to help mums and dads to share out caring responsibilities more equally.

“By joining a union, working women can have their voices heard at work, and can work together to win equal pay and fair treatment.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:
 

Addressing the gender pay gap
The TUC is calling on the government to:

  1. End discriminatory pay: through equal pay audits, tougher sanctions on employers who don’t play fair, and ending employment tribunal fees so women who are discriminated against can access justice.
  2. Tackle occupational segregation: getting more women into better paid jobs like engineering through good careers advice, the apprenticeships system and removing discrimination and prejudice.
  3. Improve pay for “women’s work”: through valuing important jobs which are done by predominantly female staff, like nursery nurses or carers, by increasing pay, progression and status.
  4. Tackle the motherhood pay penalty: through a combination of tackling pregnancy discrimination, improving access to flexible work, creating more well-paid, high-skilled part-time jobs and giving dads better opportunities to share parental leave and work flexibly so it’s not all about women putting their careers on hold to raise a family.

Women’s Pay Day by industry, source the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2016. We have only used job categories with 10,000 workers or more.

Industry

% gender pay gap

Number of days

Women’s Pay Day

Transport and storage

4

14

14/01/2017

Accommodation and food services

4

14

14/01/2017

Sewerage and waste management

4

15

15/01/2017

Admin and support services

9

31

31/01/2017

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

14

49

18/02/2017

Real estate

14

52

21/02/2017

Arts, entertainment and recreation

14

52

21/02/2017

Construction

16

59

28/02/2017

Public admin and defence

16

60

01/03/2017

Average

18

66 days

07/03/2017

Wholesale and retail, motor vehicle repair

19

68

09/03/2017

Human health and social work

19

69

10/03/2017

Information and communication

20

72

13/03/2017

Manufacturing

22

80

21/03/2017

Professional, scientific and technical

24

86

27/03/2017

Other service activities

26

96

06/04/2017

Education

27

97

07/04/2017

Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning

28

102

12/04/2017

Financial and insurance

37

137

17/05/2017

- The gender pay gap is calculated using all median hourly pay, excluding overtime, for male and female employees from the ONS ASHE data: www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/annualsurveyofhoursandearnings/2016provisionalresults
- Since 2011 the full-time pay gap has fallen by just 0.2 percentage points a year. The TUC has calculated that at this rate it will take over 40 years to achieve pay parity between men and women.
- Equal pay day/Women’s Pay Day: Historically the TUC has marked Equal Pay Day, which has been held towards the end of the year (in recent years it has been in November). It has marked the point in the year when the average woman effectively stops being paid compared to the average man. This year, the TUC is marking Women’s Pay Day in March to reflect when the average woman starts being paid, compared to the average man. This brings the UK into line with how Equal Pay Day is calculated in the US, Canada, and much of Europe, and it also allows for the most up-to-date information on women’s pay to be used.
- TUC Women’s Conference: Women’s Pay Day comes the day before the TUC Women’s Conference (which runs from Wednesday 8-Friday 10 March at Congress House in London) and International Women’s Day (8 March). For more information about the conference please contact Scarlet Harris on [email protected]
- Gender pay gap reporting:  From 1 April, large companies will have to publish information about the difference between average male and female earnings. The TUC believes the government must go further and wants employers to be made to carry out equal pay audits, and to produce action plans to close the pay gap in their workplace. The TUC also wants companies that fail to comply with the law to be fined. 
- Mary Macarthur plaque unveiling: On Women’s Pay Day, English Heritage will unveil a blue plaque to trade union leader Mary Macarthur, who campaigned for equal pay. The unveiling will take place at 5pm in Golder Green, London. For more information please contact Alex Carson at English Heritage on [email protected]
- All TUC press releases can be found at tuc.org.uk/media
- TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews

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