Disability pay gap highest since 2013

Disabled workers earned on average £1.50 less an hour last year that those without a disability, which has pushed the disability pay gap to its highest level since 2013.

The TUC’s Disability employment and pay gaps 2018 report revealed that in 2017 the average hourly rate of pay for a disabled worker was £9.90, compared to £11.40 for a non-disabled employee. This was a pay gap of 15% – its highest since the Government began publishing comparable data in 2013.

This meant that the average disabled employee working a 35-hour week earned £2,730 less a year than a worker without a disability. It claimed this equated to around 11 months of food expenditure for the average household (£58 per week).

Less than half (49.2%) of people with a disability under the Equality Act 2010 definition were in employment in the second quarter of 2017, compared with an employment rate of 80.6% among non-disabled workers. This meant there was disability employment gap of 31.4%.

The TUC claimed that the disability pay gap has many causes, but one of them was the higher proportion of disabled people in part-time work than non-disabled people. More than a third (36.3%) of disabled workers worked part time, attracting a lower rate of pay, compared with 23.4% of non-disabled employees.

Disabled people were also more likely to be employed in a lower-paid profession than those without a disability. There was a higher proportion of disabled people in sales and customer service, leisure, caring and administrative and secretarial roles than in managerial and directorship positions or professional occupations.

Women with a disability faced a larger pay gap than disabled men. The average hourly rate of pay was £12 for a disabled woman, compared with £15.40 for a disabled man. Non-disabled women earned £12.70, on average.

To address the disability pay gap, TUC proposed that the Government should:

  • consult on a new law requiring employers to publish their disability pay gap and an action plan to close it;
  • introduce a statutory right to request flexible working;
  • remove the cap on Access to Work grants, and;
  • reverse cuts to Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments.

It suggested that employers should:

  • consult with disabled staff and trade unions on how to address the disability pay gap;
  • improve performance in putting in place reasonable adjustments for disabled workers;
  • record time off linked to disability separately from sick leave, and;
  • advertise more jobs on a flexible and part time basis.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Too many disabled people face lower pay and worse jobs than their non-disabled peers.

“New rules to make bosses reveal gender pay gaps have been successful at shining a light on the problem. We’d like the government to consider a similar law requiring employers to publish their disability pay gap, along with the steps they will take to close it.”

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