NEW analysis published by the TUC shows that non-disabled workers earn around a sixth (14.6 per cent) more than disabled workers. The pay gap for disabled workers across the board is £1.90 an hour, or £66.50 per week. That makes for a pay difference of £3,460 a year for someone working a 35-hour week.

The pay gap has fallen since last year, when the overall pay gap was £2.05 (17.2 per cent) an hour. But it is now higher than it was a decade ago (13.2 per cent in 2013/14) when the first comparable pay data was recorded.

The new analysis also reveals that disabled women face the biggest pay gap. Non-disabled men are paid on average 30 per cent (£3.73 an hour, £130.55 a week, or £6,780 a year) more than disabled women.

The disability pay gap persists for workers for most of their careers. At age 25 the pay gap is £1.73 an hour, rising to a high of £3.18 an hour, or £111.30 a week, for disabled workers aged 40 to 44.

National, regional and industrial disability pay gaps

The analysis looked at pay data from across the country and found disability pay gaps in every region and nation of the UK. The highest pay gaps are in Wales (21.6 per cent or £2.53 an hour), followed by the South East (19.8 per cent or £2.78 an hour) and the East of England (17.7 per cent or £2.30 an hour).

The research found that disability pay gaps also vary by industry. The biggest pay gap is in financial and industrial services, where the pay gap stands at a huge 33.2 per cent (£5.60 an hour).


Not only are disabled workers paid less than non-disabled workers, they are also more likely to be excluded from the job market. Disabled workers are twice as likely as non-disabled workers to be unemployed (6.7 per cent compared to 3.3 per cent).

Disabled BME workers face an even tougher labour market – one in 10 (10.4 per cent) are unemployed compared to nearly one in 40 (2.6 per cent) white non-disabled workers.

Zero-hours contracts

Disabled workers are more likely than non-disabled workers to be on zero-hours contracts (4.5 per cent to 3.4 per cent) and disabled BME women are nearly three times as likely as non-disabled white men (6.0 per cent to 2.2 per cent) to be on these insecure contracts.

The TUC says zero-hours contracts hand the employer total control over workers’ hours and earning power, meaning workers never know how much they will earn each week, and their income is subject to the whims of managers.

The union body argues that this makes it hard for workers to plan their lives, look after their children and get to medical appointments. And it makes it harder for workers to challenge unacceptable behaviour by bosses because of concerns about whether they will be penalised by not being allocated hours in future.

The TUC is calling for government action to end the discrimination disabled workers’ face in the jobs market. TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “We all deserve to be paid fairly for the work we do. But disabled people continue to be valued less in our jobs market. It’s shameful there has been zero progress on the disability pay gap in the last decade. Being disabled shouldn’t mean you are given a lower wage – or left out of the jobs market altogether.

“Too many disabled people are held back at work, not getting the reasonable adjustments they need to do their jobs. And we need to strengthen the benefits system for those who are unable to work or are out of work, so they are not left in poverty.

“It’s time for a step change. Labour’s New Deal for Working People would be an absolute game changer for disabled workers. It would introduce mandatory disability pay gap reporting to shine a light on inequality at work. Without this legislation, millions of disabled workers will be consigned to many more years of lower pay and in-work poverty.”

* Source: Trades Union Congress