Pay gap unfair to female night staff

Women
who work nights do not receive the same pay perks as men, according to new
research published by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).

Jenny
Watson, deputy chair of the EOC, said the report Low Pay, Times of Work and
Gender shows society undervalues the work done by women.

In
her speech at the New Policy Institute Fringe meeting at the Labour Party
conference Watson said: "Women who choose to work night shifts – often to
help them fit work in around childcare – are routinely being denied the pay
perks that men receive for working nights. The gap is particularly wide for
women in low-paid night work: men with no qualifications, working full-time,
receive 8 per cent extra pay for working at night, while women in the same
position receive no extra pay at all.

"This
kind of institutional sexism is difficult to tackle. Pay reviews can root out
discrimination where women and men are working for the same employer, but women
in low-paid service jobs often have no male colleague to compare their pay
with.

"The
UK needs to reassess the way it values different kinds of work and ensure that
women aren’t losing out simply because they are women."

Watson
called for the Low Pay Commission to be given a specific remit to narrow the
pay gap when recommending a new rate, and urged employers to carry out pay
reviews to ensure that they did not undervalue women’s work.

The
findings – based on an analysis of the Spring 2000 Labour Force Survey – also
show:


17 per cent of male employees, compared to 9 per cent of female employees, work
nights


People with no qualifications are more likely to work at night than those with
higher qualifications. They are also more likely to work part-time

While
low skill men frequently use night work as a strategy for avoiding low pay,
this is not an option open to women. For women with few qualifications working
at night does nothing to reduce the incidence of low pay.

By Quentin Reade

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