Today is Equal Pay Day and the #equalpayday is trending on twitter, but the upbeat name for November 9 hides an alarming fact, according to charity The Fawcett Society - women, in effect, don’t earn any money for the rest of the year.
According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings by the Office for National Statistics, the pay gap for men and women working full-time is 14.2%. The average full-time female worker’s hourly rate is £14.39, compared to £16.77 for men.
The government recently pledged to do more to bring women’s pay in line with men’s, with David Cameron vowing to ‘close the pay gap in a generation’, but gender equality charity the Fawcett Society believes the Government will not achieve its aim without more being done to speed up the pace of change.
Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, said: “There has never been a better opportunity to close the pay gap for good. Progress has stalled in recent years but with real commitment for government and employers, together with action from women and men at work, we could speed up progress towards the day when we can consign it to history.
“We welcome the inclusion of bonus payments and the extension of the new regulations to the public sector. But new regulations on pay should require an action plan alongside the pay gap with tough penalties for employers who do not comply.
“The message to women and men at work is – it’s OK to talk about pay. How can we achieve pay equality if we don’t even know what our colleagues earn? It is time to have the conversation and ask your employer if they are ready for the new pay gap reporting requirements.”
Recently launched government legislation - targeted at addressing the gender pay gap - requires big companies to publish how much they pay employees - including bonuses.
The Fawcett Society believes that at the current rate of progress, it will take 50 years to close the gender pay gap in the UK.