At the beginning of November, the average disabled worker stopped getting paid, according to new analysis published by the TUC. 

This is based on a calculation that there is a disability pay gap of 15.5 per cent. As a result, disabled people effectively work for free for the last two months of the year.

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.

But 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.

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

A recent online TUC poll carried out by GQR Research of 2,700 respondents in July this year found that disabled workers were also more likely to have to give up basic necessities than other workers in order to make ends meet:

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


The TUC is therefore recommending that the government introduces mandatory disability pay gap reporting for all employers with at least 50 employees. It also wants this step to be accompanied by a duty on employers to produce targeted action plans identifying the steps they will take to address any gaps they find. These action plans must be produced in consultation with recognised trade unions.

It has therefore launched a public petition calling on the government to make it compulsory for employers to publish their disability pay gaps. To sign the petition, go to:

Emma Game, of Thompsons Solicitors, commented: "Disability is a protected characteristic covered by the Equality Act 2010 and as with any protected characteristic, individuals should not face barriers to employment, new opportunities, or a pay increase, because of it.

"A step in showing that employers care about their disabled staff and that they wish to promote fairness across the board would be to publish their disability pay gap. We would welcome any statutory requirement for employers to report on their disability pay gaps and employment rates".

To read the report in full, go to: