Men in the UK are paid 18 per cent more than women
British women have to wait nearly a fifth of the year before they start getting paid, according to new research from the TUC.
This year’s Women’s Payday, before which women essentially work for free, will fall next Tuesday — 66 days into 2017.
That figure is based on the overall pay gap of 18 per cent. However, in key industries, women have to wait until even later in the year. In education the pay gap stands at 27 per cent, so women work for free for 97 days. In health and social work, it’s 69 days.
And trailing way behind the pack, payday for women in the finance and insurance sector doesn’t arrive until the 17 May — 137 days into the year.
‘The UK has one of the worst gender pay gaps in Europe,’ commented TUC general secretary Frances O’ Grady.
“Even in industries where women dominate, like education, they get paid far less than men.
“Paying lip service to the problem is not good enough. Companies that don’t pay women the same as men for work of equal value are breaking the law. But with Employment Tribunal fees of £1,200, too few women can afford to access justice when bad bosses break the law.
“We also need to remove the barriers that stop women going into better paid, male-dominated professions. And we must improve pay for vital, but undervalued, jobs that are predominantly done by women, like social care.”
While the government has claimed to be tackling the problem by forcing large companies to disclose pay gap information, unions, women’s organisations and others are calling for more pro-active policy.
The TUC proposes four priorities for closing the gap:
- End discriminatory pay: through equal pay audits, tougher sanctions on employers who don’t play fair, and ending employment tribunal fees so women who are discriminated against can access justice.
- Tackle occupational segregation: getting more women into better paid jobs like engineering through good careers advice, the apprenticeships system and removing discrimination and prejudice.
- Improve pay for “women’s work”: through valuing important jobs which are done by predominantly female staff, like nursery nurses or carers, by increasing pay, progression and status.
- Tackle the motherhood pay penalty: through a combination of tackling pregnancy discrimination, improving access to flexible work, creating more well-paid, high-skilled part-time jobs and giving dads better opportunities to share parental leave and work flexibly so it’s not all about women putting their careers on hold to raise a family.