Disabled Workers Earn £3,500 Less Per Year

Disabled employees are at a disadvantage in the workplace after figures showed they typically earn £3,500 a year less than non-disabled workers. 


According to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), disabled members of staff earned £1.93 below their non-disabled colleagues last year. Disabled workers typically took home £12.10 per hour, compared with £14.03 per hour for those living without a life-long condition. 


Based on a 35-hour working week, this amounts to £3,500 over the course of a year. 


Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, noted that this group of employees was “among the hardest hit during the pandemic”. 


Now the whole country is facing a cost-of-living crisis, this disparity in pay could mean disabled employees are left facing a living standards emergency “with lower pay than non-disabled workers, but higher energy and transport costs”. 


“Disabled workers deserve better,” Ms. O’Grady stated, adding: “It’s time for big employers to be forced to publish their disability pay gaps, to help shine a light on poor workplace practices that fuel inequality at work.”


She recognised: “Otherwise, millions of disabled workers will continue to face lower pay and in-work poverty.”


Since 2014, the pay gap has widened between disabled and non-disabled staff, rising from 11.7 percent to 13.8 percent over the seven years. Scotland was found to have the greatest difference in salaries at 18.5 percent in 2021, while the gap in Wales was much lower at 11.6 percent. 


Autistic people had a wider pay gap last year than people with other disabilities, earning 33.5 percent less than non-disabled employees. 


Consequently, the TUC wants the government to provide an emergency budget to improve pay, pensions, and universal credit, and reduce energy bills by taxing energy company profits.


It also calls for mandatory disability pay gap reporting for all businesses that have more than 50 workers, as well as action plans to address any disparities that are discovered.


In addition to this, the organisation asks for the enforcement of reasonable adjustments for disabled workers.  


Last November, the TUC revealed that disabled workers have been forced into facing financial hardship due to the pandemic more so than non-disabled employees. 


According to findings, 40 percent of disabled workers encountered money problems over the preceding year, having to take out more debt, cut back on spending, and use food banks to get by. This is compared with 27 percent of non-disabled staff members.


The TUC polling also revealed that 22 percent of disabled workers were worried about losing their jobs, which is twice as many as non-disabled employees. 


Ms. O’Grady commented: “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.”


She added that “urgent action” is needed from the government to address the problem and improve inequality in the workplace.


Compounding these figures, leading global disability charity Leonard Cheshire also reported that 19 percent of employers would be less inclined to hire a disabled person than someone who is not disabled. 


It also revealed as much as 89 percent of disabled people aged between 18 and 24 years old had faced employment difficulties due to the pandemic. 


Make sure you use pre-employment screening in the UK to ensure your workforce is as qualified and diverse as possible, as well as committing to equal pay for both disabled and non-disabled staff members. 


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