Action needed to close the disability pay gap

7 November is Disability Pay Gap Day. It’s the day when the average Disabled worker stops getting paid for the rest of the year, compared to the average non-disabled worker. This means that that Disabled workers will work 54 days without pay this year. 

This year the Disability Pay Gap has widened. Disabled workers are now earning £2.05 less per hour than non-disabled workers, compared to £1.90 in 2021. That’s a pay gap of 17.2 per cent and means Disabled workers take home £3,731 a year less than non-disabled workers.  

This is at a time when the cost-of-living is growing and growing.  

And the gap is even bigger for Disabled women. Non-disabled men are paid on average 35 per cent more than disabled women. That equates to huge £7,144 a year. 

The analysis shows that there is no let up throughout Disabled people’s careers, in fact the gap gets worse. The pay gap starts at age 20 at 65p an hour and increases steadily with age to a peak of £3.55 an hour for disabled workers aged 40-44. 
Disability Pay Gap Reporting  

Today the trade union movement is calling on the Government to bring in mandatory disability pay gap reporting for all employers with more than 50 employees.  

The legislation should be accompanied by a duty on employers to produce targeted action plans identifying the steps they will take to address any gaps identified. And we’re calling for the same for gender, ethnicity and LGBT+ identities because we cannot end inequalities in pay for one group without ending them for all.  

We also need to address the underlying causes of the pay gap. Disabled workers are more likely to be in part time work, in lower paid jobs and in insecure work. The pay gap is also linked to unlawful discrimination, a lack of access to flexible working, and employers failing to provide reasonable adjustments. 

That’s why we also demand: 

  • The National Minimum Wage to be raised to £15 an hour as soon as possible and a real pay rise for public sector workers. 
  • A ban on zero-hours contracts by giving workers a right to a contract which reflects their normal hours of work. 
  • A day one right to flexible working for all workers and a duty on employers to advertise possible flexible working options in job adverts. 
  • A stronger legal framework for reasonable adjustments and for United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons (UNCRPD) enforceable within UK law. 
  • An end to attacks on the right to strike so Disabled workers and all workers can defend and improve their pay and conditions. 

Disabled people are always hit hardest, during the financial crisis, the pandemic and now the cost-of-living emergency. We need change now.