Today (4 November), the average disabled worker stops getting paid, relative to their non-disabled co-workers. As a result, today is known as the Disability Pay Gap Day.
In the world of work, disabled employees earn an average of £1.65 less per hour than their non-disabled counterparts: this equals £3,000 less per year, based on a 35-hour working week.
This means that the disability pay gap stands at 15.5 per cent, meaning disabled workers essentially work the last 57 days (eight weeks) of the year for free, and stop getting paid today.
According to the Trade Unions Congress, disabled people are more likely to cut back on basic necessities in order to get by:
- 35 per cent of disabled employees have gone without heating on a cold day, compared to 17 per cent of non-disabled workers
- 34 per cent of disabled workers have cut back on food for themselves, compared to 18 per cent of non-disabled workers
- 20 per cent of disabled workers have delayed buying children’s clothes due to lack of money, compared to 12 per cent of non-disabled workers
Not only are disabled people more likely to be paid less at work, they’re also more likely to have additional costs, such as equipment, transport, care and support – what is known as the Disability Price Tag.
Combined, this means disabled people are facing huge amounts of financial equality, and are feeling the effects on a greater scale.
In 2015, the government committed to halve the disability pay gap, however very little progress has been made, and the government has resisted recent calls to bring in a law requiring employers to publish their disability pay gap.
Cuts to support have also impacted disabled people: the replacement of Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has led to fewer disabled people qualifying for financial aid.
PIP is frequently wrongly denied to people, with 68 per cent of appeal hearings found in favour of the claimant.
It is clear that much more must be done to achieve equality for disabled people in the workplace. With campaigns such as Disability Pay Gap Day drawing vital attention to the issue, we must continue to put pressure on companies and the government alike to ensure real change is made.