The areas where three-quarters of women earn below the Living Wage for part-time work

Today is Part-time Equal Pay Day, effectively the last day of 2015 in which women working part time get paid


The TUC has today expressed concern that many women in the UK are trapped in in-work poverty, and reiterated calls for more employers to pay the Living Wage.

It comes in the wake of new analysis revealing that in some parts of the UK more than three-quarters of women who work part time earn less than the Living Wage. The TUC has highlighted Living Wage ‘blackspots’ for women working part-time. The five worst are:

Dwyfor Meirionnyd, where 79 per cent of women working part-time earn below the Living Wage

Birmingham Northfield (76.8 per cent)

Mid Ulster (74.2 per cent)

West Lancashire (71.6)

Alyn and Deeside (7.4)

One London constituency, Harrow West, makes the blackspot list, with 70.3 per cent of women working part-time earning less than the London Living Wage. But the analysis shows that there are 17 other parliamentary constituencies where most women working part-time earn less than the London Living Wage (currently £9.15 an hour, compared to £7.85 an hour).

The research has been published to mark Part-time Equal Pay Day – effectively the day in 2015 that women working part-time stop being paid.

This is based on the fact that women working part-time earn 33 per cent less per hour than men (based on mean hourly earnings excluding overtime). This means women effectively stop being paid on the 245th day of the year – 2 September.

Women are still much more likely than men to work part-time or on insecure contracts, meaning that they suffer more from in-work poverty. Today’s analysis of official figures shows that in more than 130 parliamentary constituencies, earning below the Living Wage is the norm for part-time women workers.

Holborn and St Pancras has the smallest proportion of low-paid, part-time women workers in the UK. But even here more than one-in-five women working part-time earn less than the London Living Wage.

The TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady said that although George Osborne has introduced a new minimum wage for over-25s, it is still well below the Living Wage and will be undermined by cuts to tax credits:

“The Living Wage was created to provide workers with a basic standard of living.   However, many part-time women earn well below this each hour and now face being hit by the chancellor’s cuts to tax credits which will wipe out any gains from his new minimum wage premium.

“Our labour market is failing to deliver for women across the UK. Those looking to work part-time or on a flexible basis are too often restricted to low-level and low-paid positions that do not make the most of their skills. Lots are forced to trade down when they start a family.”

The Living Wage is a voluntary pay standard, based on the amount of income needed to have a simple but decent standard of living. The Living Wage Foundation has so far accredited 1,704 employers, including more than a fifth of FTSE companies.

How much of an achievement this is depends on your level of optimism; given the huge numbers they deal in, should not all FTSE companies be paying their employees at least enough for them to live ‘decently’?

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward

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