The UK’s disability pay gap has narrowed slightly, but mandatory disability pay gap reporting is needed to drive further progress, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The trade union body’s analysis of Labour force survey statistics found that non-disabled workers earn 16.5% more per hour than those that meet the definition of disabled under the Equality Act, down from the 20% it reported last year.
The TUC discovered the median hourly pay for a worker with a disability was £11.55, compared with £13.45 for those without a disability.
When sex was taken into consideration, the analysis of statistics from Q3 and Q4 2020 and Q1 and Q2 2021 found that the median hourly wage for disabled women (£11.10) was almost a third less than that of non-disabled men (£14.60).
The pay gap data was published alongside the results of a survey which found 40% of disabled workers have faced financial difficulty during the pandemic, compared to 27% of those without a disability.
Disabled workers (22%) were twice as likely to say they were concerned about losing their jobs than non-disabled workers (11%).
“Disabled workers have been hit hardest by Covid-19. Many have been pushed into financial hardship and left without a safety net,” said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.
“With a cost-of-living crisis looming we need urgent action from ministers. 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.
“Disabled people deserve much better. We need mandatory disability pay gap reporting to shine a light on poor workplace practices that fuel inequality at work. Without this, millions of disabled workers will be consigned to years of lower pay and in-work poverty.”
Another report by disability charity Leonard Cheshire has found that some disabled people still face discrimination at work. One in five line managers said they would be less likely to employ a disabled person than a non-disabled person.
Nine in 10 disabled people aged 18-24 years old said that their work had been affected by the pandemic.
Director of policy at Leonard Cheshire Gemma Hope said: “Disabled people have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and employment support is vital to ensure they’re not further left behind.
“Our research also suggests stubborn levels of stigma among employers and that young disabled people remain adrift in the current job market. We call on government to increase efforts to support disabled job seekers and recruiters to continue working with us in recognising the depth of talent available.”
Some 512 line managers with recruitment responsibilities and 1,201 working age disabled adults were polled for the Leonard Cheshire research and 2,134 workers in England were polled for the TUC study.