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Disability Pay Gap Day: new research suggests disabled workers work 52 days unpaid

New Trades Union Congress (TUC) analysis shows that disabled workers work 52 days of the year unpaid, receiving 16.5% less pay than their non-disabled peers, and have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

The TUC, alongside charity Leonard Cheshire, have published new research that reveals the effects of Covid-19 on disabled workers’ finances, as well as announcing Disability Pay Gap Day on November 9th this year – the day that, effectively, disabled people stop getting paid in comparison to their non-disabled peers.

A poll of 2,134 workers in England and Wales showed that non-disabled workers earned on average 16.5% more than disabled employees (£1.90 an hour) – which is an extra £3,458 more a year. This means disabled people would effectively stop getting paid from today.

This does not include other intersections such as gender or race, with the research also finding that disabled men earn on average 32% more than disabled women.

Research further indicates that disabled workers have faced hardship due to the pandemic, with disabled employees twice as likely as non-disabled employees to use a foodbank, and around 28% saying they had to cut back on their spending compared to non-disabled workers, who polled in at 18%.

The Leonard Cheshire study finds similar issues for disabled workers, with 90 percent (89%) of young disabled people aged 18-24 saying their work has been affected by the pandemic, whilst one in five employers said they would be less likely to hire a disabled person than a non-disabled person.

Both the TUC and Leonard Cheshire are urging the government to acknowledge and close this pay gap, and to ensure that disabled people gain and retain quality employment.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Disabled workers have been hit hardest by Covid-19. Many have been pushed into financial hardship and left without a safety net. With a cost-of-living crisis looming we need urgent action from ministers.  As we saw with the last financial crisis disabled people are all too often first in line for redundancy, and those who keep hold of their jobs face a yawning pay gap. Disabled people deserve much better. We need mandatory disability pay gap reporting to shine a light on poor workplace practices that fuel inequality at work. Without this, millions of disabled workers will be consigned to years of lower pay and in-work poverty.’

Photo by CDC

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