New analysis published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday 14 November – which is Disability Pay Gap Day – shows that non-disabled workers earn around a sixth (14.6%) more than disabled workers
The analysis reveals that the pay gap for disabled workers across the board is £1.90 an hour, or £66.50 per week – over what the average household spends on their weekly food shop (£62.20).
That makes for a pay difference of £3,460 a year for someone working a 35-hour week – and means that disabled people effectively work for free for the last 47 days of the year and stop getting paid today, on the day the TUC has branded Disability Pay Gap Day.
“Zero progress” on disability pay gap
The TUC introduced Disability Pay Gap Day in 2019. It is the day of the year when the average disabled person stops being paid, compared to the average non-disabled person.
The pay gap has fallen since 2022, when the overall pay gap was £2.05 (17.2%) an hour.
The new analysis shows that the disability pay gap is now higher than it was a decade ago (13.2% in 2013/14) when the first comparable pay data was recorded.
And the gap is only slightly lower than when the TUC first launched Disability Pay Gap Day using 2016/17 data (when it was 15.0%).
Disability pay gap by gender and age
The new TUC analysis reveals that disabled women face the biggest pay gap. Non-disabled men are paid on average 30% (£3.73 an hour, £130.55 a week, or £6,780 a year) more than disabled women.
The research also shows that the disability pay gap persists for workers for most of their careers. At age 25 the pay gap is £1.73 an hour hitting a high of £3.18 an hour, or £111.30 a week, for disabled workers aged 40 to 44.
National, regional, and industrial disability pay gaps
The analysis looked at pay data from across the country and found disability pay gaps in every region and nation of the UK.
The highest pay gaps are in Wales (21.6% or £2.53 an hour), followed by the South East (19.8% or £2.78 an hour) and the East of England (17.7% or £2.30 an hour).
The research found that disability pay gaps also vary by industry. The biggest pay gap is in financial and industrial services, where the pay gap stands at a huge 33.2% (£5.60 an hour).
Not only are disabled workers paid less than non-disabled workers, they are also more likely to be excluded from the job market.
Disabled workers are twice as likely as non-disabled workers to be unemployed (6.7% compared to 3.3%).
And the analysis shows disabled Black and Brown workers face a much tougher labour market – one in 10 (10.4%) Black or Brown disabled workers are unemployed compared to nearly one in 40 (2.6%) white non-disabled workers.
The Disability Pay Gap Day analysis shows that disabled workers are more likely than non-disabled workers to be on zero-hours contracts (4.5% to 3.4%).
And disabled Black and Brown women are nearly three times as likely as non-disabled white men (6.0% to 2.2%) to be on these insecure contracts.
The TUC says zero-hours contracts hand the employer total control over workers’ hours and earning power, meaning workers never know how much they will earn each week, and their income is subject to the whims of managers.
The union body argues that this makes it hard for workers to plan their lives, look after their children and get to medical appointments.
And it makes it harder for workers to challenge unacceptable behaviour by bosses because of concerns about whether they will be penalised by not being allocated hours in future.
On Disability Pay Gap Day, TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said:
We all deserve to be paid fairly for the work we do. But disabled people continue to be valued less in our jobs market.
It’s shameful there has been zero progress on the disability pay gap in the last decade.
Being disabled shouldn’t mean you are given a lower wage – or left out of the jobs market altogether.
Too many disabled people are held back at work, not getting the reasonable adjustments they need to do their jobs. And we need to strengthen the benefits system for those who are unable to work or are out of work, so they are not left in poverty.
Featured image via pxhere
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.