31 May 2018

New figures show that the disability pay gap in the UK last year was 15% — its highest level since 2013.

In financial terms, that means that the average hourly pay for disabled workers in 2017 was £9.90, compared to £11.40 for non-disabled workers. The disability pay gap of £1.50 an hour equates to £2730 a year, the TUC has calculated.

Its report, “Disability Employment and Pay Gaps” (https://bit.ly/2IMEVEi), reveals that disabled people are not only less likely to be in employment, but also that, even when they are, they earn less than their non-disabled peers.

Disabled workers are also more likely to work in lower-paid occupations, the report explains, while fewer disabled people have higher levels of education. Although that educational divide can make it harder to get jobs with higher rates of pay, even when disabled workers have the same level of education as their colleagues, the pay gap remains.

Women who are disabled face a larger pay gap than men (22% compared to 13%), while the proportion of disabled people working part-time (36.4%) is higher than for non-disabled workers compared (23.4%).

“Too many disabled people face lower pay and worse jobs than their non-disabled peers,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said.

To tackle the problem, the TUC has proposed a number of actions to be taken by both the Government (for example, making organisations publish their disability pay gap) and employers (such as recording absence linked to disability separately from sick-leave, and advertising more jobs on a flexible and part-time basis so as to improve opportunities for disabled workers).

Calling on the Government to reverse cuts to disability benefits — which she said makes it harder for disabled people to cover the extra costs of getting work — Ms O’Grady also suggested that employers should talk to their disabled workers about how to make work more accessible for them.