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TUC analysis: the gender pay gap

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TUC analysis, gender pay gap, official figures, women paid less, Women suffer a huge pay penalty over the course of their lives.

A new analysis of official statistics published by the TUC this week shows that the gender pay gap is at its widest when a woman hits 50, when the average woman working full-time will earn £8,421 a year less than the average full-time working man.

The research – published in advance of the gender pay reporting deadline on 4 April – shows that women working full-time earn less than men annually at every stage of their careers from as soon as they turn 18.

Young women: The analysis reveals that the average young woman aged 18-21 working full-time starts her career on the back foot financially, earning £1,845 less than her male peers.

And this pay gap is only set to increase.

Women aged 22-29 working full-time can expect to earn £2,305 less than full-time working men their age.

Previous TUC research found that women who become mothers before the age of 33 earned 15 per cent less than similarly aged women who had not had children.

Women in their 40s: The gap in annual earnings more than doubles by the time women hit 40, leaping up from £3,670 a year at age 30 to £7,400 a year.

The TUC believes this reflects the impact of motherhood on women’s earnings, when women find they are only able to return to work in lower-paid roles, or cannot progress their careers after having moved to part-time employment.

Women in their 50s: The pay gap widens further for women in their 50s, hitting £8,421 a year, as the longer-term impacts of getting stuck in lower paid work with few promotion prospects are felt and caring responsibilities – including for older relatives – continue to have an effect.

To address the gender pay gap, the TUC is calling on the government to:

1-Toughen up gender pay gap reporting: by increasing resources for enforcement, introducing immediate fines for non-compliance and requiring employers to publish action plans alongside their figures. Smaller employers should also be required to report.

2-End the motherhood pay penalty: by tackling pregnancy discrimination, giving dads better opportunities to share parental leave and working with employers to create more well-paid part-time jobs.

3-Improve pay for “women’s work”: through investing in key sectors like social and nursery care where many important jobs are done by women.

4-End discriminatory pay: through mandatory equal pay audits.

Remarking on these figures, the TUC’s General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Women suffer a huge pay penalty over the course of their lives, starting as soon as they set foot on the career ladder.

“Having children and caring responsibilities has a massive impact on a woman’s earnings.

“Far more needs to be done to help mums get back into decent, well-paid jobs after they have kids – and to encourage dads to take on their share of caring responsibilities.

“And we are crying out for higher wages in jobs predominantly done by women, like childcare and social care. Until we do, women will continue to lose out financially and many will have to make the choice between have a family or a career.

“Workplaces where unions are recognised are more likely to have family-friendly policies,” she added, “So a good first step for women worried about their pay is to join a union.”

The deadline for gender pay reporting is 30 March 2018 in the public sector and 4 April 2018 in the private sector.

And according to the BBC, by 21 March 2018 two thirds of firms had not yet published their gender pay gap data.

If you want to find out the gender pay gap at your company, try looking on the BBC’s calculator.

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