The average disabled worker stops getting paid today (Monday) according to a new analysis published by the TUC. The TUC has branded this day Disability Pay Gap Day.
The current disability pay gap for all employees stands at 15.5%. This pay gap means that disabled people effectively work for free for the last 57 days (or 8 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 per year based on a 35-hour week.
The disability pay gap impacts on the lives of disabled workers.
A TUC/GQR poll found that disabled workers are more likely to resort to going without basics to get by than other workers.
- 20% of disabled workers have put off buying children’s clothes due to lack of money, compared to 12% of non-disabled workers
- 34% of disabled workers have cut back on food for themselves, compared to 18% of non-disabled workers
- 35% of disabled workers have gone without heating on a cold day, compared to 17% 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 around half (51.8%) of disabled people are in work, compared to more than four-fifths (81.6%) of non-disabled people – a gap of 29.8 percentage points.
Lack of government action
The current government has done little to help disabled workers. And the TUC says it is part of a pattern of how disabled people’s needs have been neglected, and their support cut.
- Failure to reduce employment gap: Despite a 2015 Conservative manifesto promise to halve the disability employment gap, very little progress has been made.
- Cuts to support: The replacement of Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has led to fewer disabled people qualifying for support. And PIP is frequently wrongly denied to people, with 68% of appeal hearings found in favour of the claimant.
- “Punitive and mean”: In May this year, a United Nations envoy condemned the current government as “punitive, mean-spirited and often callous” in its treatment of the country’s poorest, highlighting the removal of financial support for many disabled people.
- Lack of action on pay gap: The government has resisted calls to bring in a law to require employers to publish their disability pay gap.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady 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.”