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New TUC analysis reveals disabled workers are much more likely to be low paid than non-disabled workers
  • Disabled women and disabled workers in the North of England and Wales are more likely to earn less  

  • Union body says government must ‘’stamp out’’ insecure work and calls for minimum wage to increase to £15 per hour 

Around seven in 10 (69%) disabled employees earn less than £15 an hour, according to new analysis of official statistics published by the TUC today (Tuesday). 

The analysis – published ahead of the TUC’s disabled workers conference which starts in Bournemouth today – finds that disabled people are much more likely to be paid less than £15 per hour than non-disabled peers. 

Half of non-disabled employees (50%) earn less than £15 per hour, compared to seven in 10 (69%) disabled employees. 

Regional and gender analysis  

The new TUC analysis shows that in some parts of the country, higher numbers of disabled employees earn less than £15 an hour. 

In the North East and Wales (92% and 94%), more than nine in 10 disabled employees earn less than £15 an hour, compared to around three in five (60% and 58% respectively) non-disabled workers. 

And the situation is even worse for disabled women employees. Seven in 10 disabled women (70%) earn less than £15 an hour, compared to just four in 10 (44%) non-disabled men.  

Government action needed  

To address the inequality faced by disabled workers, the TUC is calling on ministers to bring in a legal requirement for employers to regularly report on how much they pay disabled workers compared to non-disabled workers. 

And the union body wants to see fines for employers that do not deliver disabled workers’ legal right to reasonable adjustments. 

The TUC says ministers must also raise the national minimum wage to £15 per hour as soon as possible, and stamp out insecure work for disabled workers by banning zero hours contracts and putting an end to fire and rehire. 

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “Disabled workers are struggling to make ends meet in this cost-of-living crisis, with rocketing bills and soaring inflation. 

“Every worker deserves a decent job on decent pay. Being disabled should not mean you’re paid any less or are stuck on worse terms and conditions. 

“The government has done very little so far to support disabled workers. It’s time for ministers to increase the minimum wage to £15 per hour as soon as possible and put an end to insecure work by banning zero hours contracts. 

“And they must also introduce mandatory disability pay gap reporting to shine a light on inequality at work. Without this, millions of disabled people face a future of lower pay and in-work poverty.” 

Editors note

- TUC disabled workers conference: The TUC disabled workers conference 2023 takes place on Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 July, in Bournemouth. Speakers include Shadow Minister for Disabled People Vicky Foxcroft MP, TUC President Maria Exall, TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak, and co-chairs of the TUC disabled workers committee Dave Allan and Ann Galpin. The conference runs from 11am-6pm today (Tuesday 11 July) and 9.30am-5.30pm tomorrow (Wednesday 12 July). There will be panel discussions and debates on disabled workers and the cost-of-living crisis, the rights of disabled people, the need for reasonable adjustments in the workplace, accessible transport, industrial injury and Long Covid. 
- Disabled workers earning less than £15 an hour (ONS Q1 data, 2023): 

Disabled* 

Non-disabled 

  

Male 

Female 

Male 

Female 

Total 

68 

70 

44 

56 

53 

- Disabled workers earning less than £15 an hour by region (ONS Q1 data, 2023):  

 

Disabled* 

 Non-disabled 

Total 

North East 

92 

60 

65 

North West 

69 

59 

60 

Yorkshire and Humberside 

74 

60 

62 

East Midlands 

69 

55 

58 

West Midlands 

79 

54 

58 

East of England 

68 

44 

48 

London 

46 

37 

39 

South East 

74 

42 

47 

South West 

61 

51 

53 

Wales 

94 

58 

65 

Scotland 

61 

50 

52 

Northern Ireland 

83 

59 

62 

N= 

69 

50 

53 

 

*Considered disabled under the definition set out in the Equality Act. 

- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living. 

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