Issue date
08 Mar 2018
Analysis published by the TUC on International Women’s Day today (Thursday) finds that the average woman has to wait more than two months of the calendar year before she starts to get paid, compared to the average man.
  • Women’s Pay Day – the day when the average woman starts getting paid compared to the average man – is this Thursday (8 March)
  • Women effectively work for free for 67 days of the year compared to men because of the gender pay gap
  • In some industries, where the gender pay gap is even bigger, women work for free for even longer and have to wait until April or even May for their Women’s Pay Day

Analysis published by the TUC on International Women’s Day today (Thursday) finds that the average woman has to wait more than two months of the calendar year before she starts to get paid, compared to the average man.

The current gender pay gap for full-time and part-time employees stands at 18.4%. This pay gap means that women effectively work for free for the first 67 days of the year, until they begin to get paid on Women’s Pay Day today.

In a number of key industries – even in those dominated by female workers – gender pay gaps are even bigger, which means Women’s Pay Day is even later in the year:

  • In education the gender pay gap is currently 26.5%, 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 130 days – more than a third of the year – before Women’s Pay Day finally kicks in on 10 May.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Nearly 50 years since the Ford machinists went on strike at Dagenham, the UK still has one of the worst gender pay gaps in Europe. Women effectively work for free for two months a year.

“Companies publishing information on their gender pay gaps is a small step in the right direction but it’s nowhere near enough. Women in the UK will only start to get paid properly when we have better-paid part-time and flexible jobs. And higher wages in key sectors like social care.

"Workplaces that recognise unions are more likely to have family friendly policies and fair pay. So a good first step for women worried about their pay is to join a union.”

ENDS

Editors note

Notes to editors:
- What is women’s pay day and why is it now?
Women’s Pay Day is the day of the year when the average woman starts being paid, compared to the average man. The TUC introduced Women’s Pay Day last year to replace Equal Pay Day, the day of the year when the average woman stops being paid compared to the average man. The TUC made this change to: (1) bring the UK into line with how equal pay is calculated in the US, Canada and most of Europe, and to (2) allow the most up-to-date information on women’s pay. Women’s Pay Day is calculated using the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Holding the day at the start of the year will allow it to be based on the latest survey data. The overall gender pay gap is calculated using all median hourly pay, excluding overtime, for all male and female employees using the latest ASHE data. The gender pay gap percentage (18.4% in the latest ASHE data) is then translated into days of the year (67 days) when women start earning the equivalent to men.
- Women’s Pay Day by industry, source the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2017.
(We have only used job categories with 10,000 workers or more).

Industry

% gender pay gap

Number of days

Women’s Pay Day

Households as employers

-5.6

-20

11/12/2017

Water supply, sewage, waste management

-2.9

-10

21/12/2017

Transport and storage

5

18

18/01/2018

Accommodation and food services

5.4

20

20/01/2018

Admin and support services

9.6

35

04/02/2018

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

11

40

09/02/2018

Arts, entertainment and recreation

11

40

09/02/2018

Real estate

13.4

49

18/02/2018

Construction

14.9

54

23/02/2018

Public admin and defence

17.7

65

06/03/2018

Wholesale and retail, motor vehicle repair

17.9

65

06/03/2018

Average

18.4

67

08/03/2018

Human health and social work

18.8

69

10/03/2018

Information and communication

19.9

72

13/03/2018

Manufacturing

20.8

76

17/03/2018

Professional, scientific and technical

22.3

82

23/03/2018

Other service activities

23.6

86

27/03/2018

Education

26.5

97

07/04/2018

Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning

28.9

105

15/04/2018

Financial and insurance

35.6

130

10/05/2018

- The gender pay gap is calculated using all median hourly pay, excluding overtime, for male and female employees from the ONS ASHE data
- 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 more than 40 years to achieve pay parity between men and women.
- TUC Women’s Conference: Women’s Pay Day falls on the second day of the TUC Women’s Conference (which runs from Wednesday 7-Friday 9 March at Congress House in London). For more information about the conference please contact Kathryn Mackridge on [email protected]
- International Women’s Day: International Women’s Day is held on 8 March every year to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. For more information please visit www.internationalwomensday.com   
- Gender pay gap reporting:  From 1 April 2017, the government ruled that large companies have to publish information about the difference between average male and female earnings. The deadline for reporting is next month (Wednesday 4 April 2018). 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 receive instant fines. 
- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

Elly Gibson
[email protected]
020 7467 1337
079 0091 0624

Alex Rossiter
[email protected]
020 7467 1285
078 8757 2130

TUC press office
[email protected]
020 7467 1248