A new analysis of pay published earlier this week by the TUC has found that non-disabled workers earn a sixth (17.2 per cent) more than disabled workers.
That equates to a pay gap of £2.05 an hour (or £3,731 per year for someone working a 35-hour week) with the result that disabled people effectively work for free for the last 54 days of the year, according to the TUC.
The analysis also revealed that disabled women face the biggest pay gap, with non-disabled men being paid on average 35 per cent (£3.93 an hour, or £7,144 a year) more than disabled women.
The disability pay gap persists for workers throughout their careers, starting at age 20 at 65 pence an hour and increases steadily with age to a peak of £3.55 an hour, or £6,461 a year for disabled workers aged 40 to 44.
The highest pay gaps are in the South East (where it stands at 22 per cent or £2.78 an hour), the West Midlands, and the South West (where the gap for both is 17 per cent or £2.20 an hour).
Disability pay gaps also vary by industry. The biggest is in financial and industrial services, where it stands at 39 per cent or £5.90 an hour, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing (24 per cent) and mining and quarrying and admin and support services (both 18 per cent).
Not only are disabled workers paid less than non-disabled workers, they are also twice as likely to be unemployed (6.8 per cent compared to 3.4 per cent). Disabled BME workers face an even tougher labour market – 10.9 per cent are unemployed compared to 2.8 per cent of white non-disabled workers.
The TUC has therefore called on the government to bring in mandatory disability pay gap reporting for all employers with more than 50 employees, along with a duty to produce action plans identifying the steps they will take to address any gaps identified.
The TUC is also calling for:
- The National Minimum Wage to be raised to £15 an hour
- More funding for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to enforce disabled workers’ rights to reasonable adjustments
- A stronger legal framework for reasonable adjustments
- A day one right to flexible working for everyone.
To read the report in full, click here.