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TUC highlights “Disability Pay Gap”

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Written by: Emma Lunn
04/11/2019
Disabled people work two months of the year for free, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The average disabled worker stops getting paid today, according to analysis by the TUC. As a result the organisation has branded today “Disability Pay Gap Day”.

The TUC calculated that the current disability pay gap for all employees stands at 15.5 per cent. This pay gap means that disabled people effectively work for free for the last 57 days (eight weeks) of the year and stop getting paid today.

The analysis also found that disabled workers earn on average £1.65 per hour less than non-disabled workers, which is a gap of around £3,000 a year based on a 35-hour week.

Financial Stress

The TUC said the disability pay gap impacts on the lives of disabled workers. A TUC poll found that disabled workers are more likely to resort to going without basics to get by than other workers.

A fifth (20 per cent) of disabled workers said they have put off buying children’s clothes due to lack of money, compared to 12 per cent of non-disabled workers.

A third (34 per cent) of disabled workers have cut back on food for themselves, compared to 18 per cent of non-disabled workers, while 35 per cent of disabled workers have gone without heating on a cold day, compared to 17 per cent of non-disabled workers.

Disability employment gap

Not only are disabled people paid less, they are also less likely to be in employment than their non-disabled peers. Many disabled people who want to work face barriers to accessing employment.

Only about half (51.8 per cent) of disabled people are in work, compared to more than four-fifths (81.6 per cent) of non-disabled people – a gap of 29.8 percentage points.

Lack of government action

The TUC accused the current government of doing little to help disabled workers, saying it is part of a pattern of how disabled people’s needs have been neglected, and their support cut.

It said that despite a 2015 Conservative manifesto promise to halve the disability employment gap, very little progress has been made.

The replacement of Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has led to fewer disabled people qualifying for support. The TUC said PIP is frequently wrongly denied to people, with 68 per cent of appeal hearings found in favour of the claimant.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “Everybody deserves a fair chance to get a job with decent pay. Being disabled should not exclude you from choosing to work. And it should not mean you’re put on a lower wage.

“The current government has behaved like they just don’t care. From PIP to pay, they have failed disabled people. Support for independent living has been scrapped. And at every turn, disabled people have been at the frontline of austerity.

“The next government must show they care about disabled people in Britain today. A good start would be a new law to make employers publish their disability pay gap and a plan of action to address it.”

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