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Gender pension gap: take action to close it


petition, Prospect, trade union, report, gender pension gap, no government policiesThere is no government estimate of the gender pension gap nor are there any policies to address it.

A petition has been started calling on the government to take action to tackle gender inequality in pensions.

Research by Prospect, a Trade Union that represents professionals, managers, technical experts and craftspeople working in a huge range of industries, has shown that female pensioners receive nearly 40 per cent less pension income than male pensioners.

And, Prospect says, The gender pension gap is particularly detrimental because it starts to affect women when there is little they can do about it.

A huge barrier to tackling the gender pension gap is the government’s lack of attention to it. There is no government estimate of the gender pension gap nor are there any policies to address it.

Prospect’s report shows that the main causes of the gender pension gap are:

Inequality in the average level of state pension awarded to men and women;

The impact of women taking breaks from paid employment or reducing hours worked to look after family; and

The cumulative impact over time of women earning less on average than men (the gender pay gap).

There are also numerous instances of indirect sex discrimination built into the pension system itself.

To tackle the gender pension gap, Prospect is calling for:

A statutory requirement for the government to report to Parliament on the gender pension gap and its plans for tackling it;

An additional state pension credit worth £2 per week for each year that someone is not working because they are looking after children under 12;

Measures that make affordable childcare more widely available, in order to help people who want to return to work do so;

Reform of automatic enrolment from the earliest possible date so pension contributions are paid from the first pound and the earnings trigger is scrapped;

An independent Commission to consider the appropriate level of contributions under automatic enrolment;

A concerted campaign to encourage higher take-up of credits that can boost women’s pension income; and

Changes to the tax system to resolve the problem whereby low earners in ‘net pay’ pension schemes do not benefit from tax relief on their contributions.

Prospect’s report on the gender pension gap contains more information about this.

To sign the petition, click here.

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