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The average disabled worker stops getting paid today (Monday) according to a new analysis published by the TUC. The TUC has branded this day Disability Pay Gap Day.

The current disability pay gap for all employees stands at 15.5%. This pay gap means that disabled people effectively work for free for the last 57 days (or 8 weeks) of the year and stop getting paid today.

The analysis also found that disabled workers earn on average £1.65 per hour less than non-disabled workers, which is a gap of around £3,000 per year based on a 35-hour week.

Financial Stress

The disability pay gap impacts on the lives of disabled workers.

A TUC/GQR poll found that disabled workers are more likely to resort to going without basics to get by than other workers.

  • 20% of disabled workers have put off buying children’s clothes due to lack of money, compared to 12% of non-disabled workers
  • 34% of disabled workers have cut back on food for themselves, compared to 18% of non-disabled workers
  • 35% of disabled workers have gone without heating on a cold day, compared to 17% of non-disabled workers

Disability employment gap

Not only are disabled people paid less, they are also less likely to be in employment than their non-disabled peers. Many disabled people who want to work face barriers to accessing employment.

Only around half (51.8%) of disabled people are in work, compared to more than four-fifths (81.6%) of non-disabled people – a gap of 29.8 percentage points.

Lack of government action

The current government has done little to help disabled workers. And the TUC says it is part of a pattern of how disabled people’s needs have been neglected, and their support cut.

  • Failure to reduce employment gap: Despite a 2015 Conservative manifesto promise to halve the disability employment gap, very little progress has been made.
  • Cuts to support: The replacement of Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has led to fewer disabled people qualifying for support. And PIP is frequently wrongly denied to people, with 68% of appeal hearings found in favour of the claimant.
  • “Punitive and mean”: In May this year, a United Nations envoy condemned the current government as "punitive, mean-spirited and often callous" in its treatment of the country's poorest, highlighting the removal of financial support for many disabled people.
  • Lack of action on pay gap: The government has resisted calls to bring in a law to require employers to publish their disability pay gap.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Everybody deserves a fair chance to get a job with decent pay. Being disabled should not exclude you from choosing to work. And it should not mean you’re put on a lower wage.

“The current government has behaved like they just don’t care. From PIP to pay, they have failed disabled people. Support for independent living has been scrapped. And at every turn, disabled people have been at the frontline of austerity.

“The next government must show they care about disabled people in Britain today. A good start would be a new law to make employers publish their disability pay gap and a plan of action to address it.”

Editors note


- What is Disability Pay Day? The TUC has introduced Disability Pay Gap Day for the first time this year. It is the day of the year when the average disabled person stops being paid, compared to the average non-disabled person. The overall disability pay gap of £1.65 is calculated by a TUC analysis of Labour Force Survey statistics from 2018 Q3 and 4, and 2019 Q1 and Q2.


Equality Act disabled

Not Equality Act disabled

Average hourly pay (£)



Gap (£)



- TUC report: The TUC report Disability Employment and Pay Gaps 2019: TUC proposals for legislative and workplace change can be downloaded from this page using the icon at the bottom of the screen.

- Public petition: The TUC has launched a public petition calling on the government to make it compulsory for employers to publish their disability pay gaps. The petition is here:

- Regional Disability Pay Gaps (source the Labour Force Survey, 2018-2019).
Regional variations in the disability pay gap are likely to be caused by differences in the types of jobs and industries that are most common in that part of the UK, and in overall employment rates across the region.


Pay gap %

East of England




UK overall


Yorks & Humberside


West Midlands


South East




East Midlands




Northern Ireland


North East


North West


South West



Employment gap (source the Labour Force Survey, 2018-2019)


Employment rate %


Equality act disabled

Not equality act disabled

2018 Q3



2018 Q4



2019 Q1



2019 Q2






Gap (ppt)



Financial stress: Polling data used in this release comes from GQR Research, which conducted an online poll of 2,700 respondents aged 16+ in work in Great Britain, during 2-16 July 2019. Data are weighted to be representative of the national working population. For more information about GQR please visit:   

- United Nations report: In May 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on poverty and human rights, Dr Philip Alston, published his findings from an investigation into poverty in the UK. His report concluded: “As a result of changes to benefits and taxes since 2010, some families with disabilities are projected to lose £11,000 on average by 2021–2022, more than 30 per cent of their annual net income. Persons with disabilities told the Special Rapporteur repeatedly about benefits assessments that were superficial, dismissive, and contradicted the advice of their doctor. Those with disabilities are also highly vulnerable to cuts in local government services, particularly within social care, which has left them shouldering more of the costs of their care. This has driven many families with a person with a disability to breaking point.” See section C of the report starting on page 16:

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