Gender pay gap means women work first two months of the year unpaid

  • 21 Feb 2024

TUC analysis reveals Women’s Pay Day – the day when the average woman stops working for free compared to the average man – is Wednesday 21 February.

In some industries and in some parts of the country where the gender pay gap is wider, women effectively work for free for even longer.

The TUC says Labour’s New Deal for Working People would be “huge boost” for working women, by introducing fair pay agreements in social care, banning zero-hours contracts and giving all workers a day one right to flexible work.

The gender pay gap for all employees currently stands at 14.3 per cent. This means that working women must wait 52 days – nearly two months – before they stop working for free on Women’s Pay Day today (Wednesday).  The analysis shows that at current rates of progress, it will take 20 years – until 2044 – to close the gender pay gap.

Gender pay gap by age

The TUC analysis shows that the gender pay gap affects women throughout their careers, from their first step on the ladder until they take retirement.  The gender pay gap is widest for middle aged and older women.

  • Women aged 40 to 49 have a gender pay gap of 17 per cent, so work 62 days for free until Tuesday 2 March 2024.
  • Women aged between 50 and 59 have the highest pay gap (19.7 per cent) and work the equivalent of 72 days for free, until Monday 11 March 2024.
  • Women aged 60 and over have a gender pay gap of 18.1 per cent. They work 66 days of the year for free before they stop working for free on Wednesday 6 March 2024.

The TUC says the gender pay gap widens as women get older, due to women being more likely to take on caring responsibilities. And that older women take a bigger financial hit for balancing work alongside caring for children, older relatives and/or grandchildren.

Paul Nowak, TUC general secretary said:

“Everyone should be paid fairly for the job that they do. It’s shameful that working women don’t have pay parity in 2024. And at current rates of progress, it will take another two decades to close the gender pay gap. We can’t consign yet another generation of women to pay inequality.

“It’s clear that just publishing gender pay gaps isn’t working. Companies must be required to publish and implement action plans to close their pay gaps. And bosses who don’t comply with the law should be fined.

Editors note

The gender pay gap: The overall gender pay gap is calculated using all median hourly pay, excluding overtime, for all male and female employees using the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data. The gender pay gap percentage (14.3% in the latest ASHE data) is then translated into days. The latest ASHE data

 Gender pay gap data is taken from ASHE, which does not provide a breakdown by ethnicity or disability status. Previous analysis by the TUC, based on Labour Force Survey data, has looked at the disability pay gap and how it intersects with the gender pay gap.

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