The TUC has called on the government to put its money where its mouth is and force employers to publish their disability pay gaps.
The call comes as analysis by the TUC shows that the average pay gap for disabled workers has hit 15.2 per cent – the equivalent of £2,821 a year.
However, for people with mental illnesses and depression the gap is even worse. For instance, someone suffering from mental illness, phobia or “panics” may experience a pay gap of 29.8 per cent; while someone with depression or “bad nerves” may experience a pay gap of anything up to 26.3 per cent.
In addition, the TUC points out that just half of working-age disabled people in the UK currently have a job, compared to four-fifths of non-disabled people. For some disabled people the problem is even worse, with only three in ten people with a mental health disability currently in work.
This call by the TUC follows the publication recently by the government of a framework to support large employers (those with at least 250 employees) in reporting voluntarily on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
The framework provides employers with guidance about how to go about collecting and reporting relevant information, such as:
- Organisational policies in relation to the recruitment and retention of disabled people
- Support offered to employees with specific disabilities
- Role of networks and support groups
- Progression and pay of disabled people
- Workplace adjustments
- Employee engagement scores
- The percentage of individuals who consider themselves as disabled.
The TUC, however, argues that without a legally binding requirement on companies to publish their pay gaps (and set out what action they are taking to address them) as well as the employment rates of disabled people, progress will be too slow.
Jo Seery of Thompsons Solicitors said:
“It is unlawful discrimination to pay disabled workers less than non-disabled workers for doing the same job. A legal requirement to publish the disability pay gap would shine a light on the extent of the inequality affecting disabled workers in the workplace. More also needs to be done to ensure employers comply with their duty to make reasonable adjustments to remove any barriers to employment faced by disabled workers and to enable disabled workers in employment to progress.”
To read the TUC data in more detail, go to their website.
The government’s report can be found here.