Gender pay gap means women now “working for free” for rest of year

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CALLS for more action to tackle the gender pay gap are being stepped up amid new research showing that women are more likely to be in low paid jobs.

Saturday is being dubbed Equal Pay Day, when women effectively start working for free for the rest of the year because of the pay difference with men.

Dawn Butler, shadow minister for women and equalities, said: “The fact that Equal Pay Day has fallen on the same date for three consecutive years shows we still have a very long way to go in the fight for equality.

“This Conservative Government has failed to tackle the underlying structural issues that result in women being paid less than men.

“It’s time to close the gender pay gap so that one day there will not be an Equal Pay Day.

“To address these deep-rooted inequalities, we need action from government, not just audits.

“The next Labour government will require all large employers to prove exactly how they plan to tackle their gender pay gaps. We must end the scourge of unequal pay once and for all.”

The Living Wage Foundation said that more than one in four jobs filled by women pay below the voluntary living wage, compared with fewer than one in five for men.

Tess Lanning, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “One of the factors driving the UK’s gender pay gap is that women are more likely to be in low paid jobs and sectors.

“Millions of women are trapped in jobs paying below a real living wage, particularly administrative, cleaning and caring roles.

“Plans to improve gender equality must involve more businesses committing to pay a real living wage, not just the government minimum.”

A Government Equalities Office spokesman said: “This year over 10,000 large employers published gender pay gap information for the first time under this government’s world leading reporting regulations.

“But we know that reporting is only the first step, which is why we have published evidence-based actions employers can take to close their gender pay gap, and are encouraging them to develop a plan to identify and tackle the causes.

“It is positive to see the national gender pay gap has gone down this year, however, there is still more work to be done by employers if we are to close the gap entirely.”