International Employment Lawyer
Businesses wary of indirect discrimination claims should consider their appetite for voluntary pay transparency reporting and review their remuneration policies as new research shows a widening of the disability pay gap in the UK.
A new analysis from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that the average pay gap for disabled workers has risen from 16.5% to 17.2% in the last year. The gap currently stands at £2.05 an hour or £3,731 per year for someone working a 35-hour week.
This difference in average pay means disabled employees effectively work for free 54 days a year. Disabled women face the biggest pay gap, receiving on average 35% less pay (£3.93 an hour, or £7,144 a year) than their non-disabled male co-workers.
It is estimated that around 14.6 million people in the UK have a disability. This represents 22% of the total population. Moreover, over 4.7 million disabled people are in work, which is around 21% of working-age adults.
“If a pay rise is lower for a disabled employee than for an equivalent non-disabled employee simply because the employee is disabled, clearly that employee could bring a claim for disability discrimination. However, often pay levels, and pay rises, are kept secret and discrimination is much less overt,” says GQ|Littler partner Caroline Baker.
“Disabled people often face more barriers – both real and perceived – to moving roles and companies. Therefore, they are more likely to be taken advantage of by employers who expect that they will put up with poor pay rises or not being promoted,” she adds.
“If employers want to tackle the disability pay gap then they should consider how far they can go with pay transparency in the organisation – for example, publishing pay bands for roles or levels – and have salary rises and bonus payments reviewed with an eye on whether there are any discriminatory criteria in play in the decision-making.”
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