Action needed to close 17.2 per cent disability pay gap

  • 07 Nov 2022

NUJ joins the TUC in marking Disability Pay Gap Day and calling for action to address the disability pay and employment gaps. 

Today, Monday 7 November, is Disability Pay Gap Day 2022.

It is 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 disabled workers will work 54 days without pay in 2022. 

This year the gap has widened. TUC analysis shows that disabled workers are now earning £2.05 less per hour than non-disabled workers, compared to £1.90 in 2021. That is 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.  

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 a huge £7,144 a year. 

The analysis shows that there is no let up throughout disabled people’s careers. 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.

TUC: non-disabled workers paid 17% more than disabled peers 

Disability Pay Gap Reporting  

The NUJ supports the TUC demand that the government brings in mandatory disability pay gap reporting for all employers with more than 50 employees. Such 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. 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.

Natasha Hirst, NUJ disabled members’ NEC rep said:

 “The NUJ supports the TUC’s call for mandatory disability pay gap reporting. During the pandemic it was thought that online working would be an equalizer for disabled workers as it opened up access and kept people connected. As we move on from the pandemic, disabled workers are rapidly experiencing exclusion again. In the context of the cost-of-living crisis and deepening inequality, disabled workers cannot afford to be losing out on pay and career opportunities. Unless employers are mandated to report on the disability pay gap, it will remain too easy for them to ignore their duties to support disabled workers.”

Ann Galpin, chair of NUJ Disabled Members’ Council said:

“Many of our NUJ disabled members freelance and work part-time, sometimes as a way to manage their impairments or because they find opportunities for inhouse jobs and career progression limited by lack of access and poor understanding of disability/mental distress. 

“It is important that the issues faced by freelancers are not rendered invisible. It is crucial that unionised workplaces include freelancers within their negotiations and continue to push employers to reduce inequality.

“We are hearing anecdotally from disabled freelance members of a return to more “exposure not money” type offers even for experienced and established journalists popping up, as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, and that’s not going to pay any bills.

“We urgently need more research into the experiences of disabled people working in journalism, including freelancers. Mandatory disability pay gap reporting for all employers with more than 50 employees – as already exists for the gender pay gap – is an obvious starting point."

Tweet your support for an end to the gap at #DisabilityPayGap and tag  @The_TUC 

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