Commenting on figures published by the ONS today (Monday) which show that disabled workers earn on average £1.93 per hour less than non-disabled employees (a gap of over £3,500 per year based on a 35-hour week) TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Disabled workers were among the hardest hit during the pandemic
“And now millions of disabled workers face a living standards emergency – with lower pay than non-disabled workers, but higher energy and transport costs.
“With bills and prices sky-rocketing, the government must act now to help disabled workers and all struggling families.
“That means coming back to parliament with an emergency budget to boost pay and universal credit, and cut energy bills.
“Disabled workers deserve better. It’s time for big employers to be forced to publish their disability pay gaps, to help shine a light on poor workplace practices that fuel inequality at work.
“Otherwise, millions of disabled workers will continue to face lower pay and in-work poverty.”
The ONS figures also show that the pay gap between disabled and non-disabled employees has widened, now standing at 13.8%, up from 11.7% in 2014.
TUC polling published last November revealed that two in five (40%) disabled workers have been pushed into financial hardship over the last year during the pandemic.
Government action needed
The TUC is calling on the government to deliver:
An emergency budget to boost pay, pensions and universal credit, and cut energy bills through a windfall tax on energy company profits.
Mandatory disability pay gap reporting for all employers with more than 50 employees. This should be accompanied by a duty on bosses to produce targeted action plans identifying the steps they will take to address any gaps identified.
Enforcement of reasonable adjustments: The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) should get specific funding to enforce disabled workers’ rights to reasonable adjustments and should update their statutory code of practice to include more examples of reasonable adjustments, to help disabled workers get the adjustments they need quickly and effectively. This will help lawyers, advisers, union reps and human resources departments apply the law properly.
ONS figures on disabled workers: www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/disabil…
- Polling: The BritainThinks online survey was conducted between the 13-21 May 2021 with a sample of 2,134 workers in England and Wales – nationally representative according to ONS Labour Force Survey Data. For more information please visit: www.britainthinks.com
- Causes of the disability pay and employment gaps: Many disabled people face a range of barriers to getting and staying in work, from a lack of transport to get there, or inadequate equipment or adjustments made once they are there. Other factors driving the pay and employment gaps are:
Part-time working: A higher proportion of disabled people than non-disabled people work part-time. These are paid less per hour than full-time jobs.
Low-paid work: Disabled people are over-represented in lower paid jobs like caring, leisure and other services and sales and customer services.
Education: Some disabled people leave education earlier than non-disabled people. However, even where disabled and non-disabled people have the same qualifications there is still a big pay gap.
The pay gap is also linked to unlawful discrimination, structural barriers and negative attitudes, says the TUC.
- Disability pay gap reporting: To address the disability pay gap, the TUC wants the government to bring in mandatory disability pay gap reporting for all employers with more than 50 employees. The legislation should be accompanied by a duty on employers to produce targeted action plans identifying the steps they will take to address any gaps identified, including ensuring disabled workers with invisible impairments feel confident in completing workplace equality monitoring.
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