WOMEN WORK­ING for FREE

Novem­ber 10th is Equal Pay Day in the UK. That means that from this date un­til the end of the year, women are ef­fec­tively work­ing for free be­cause of the gen­der pay gap. Here’s where Equal Pay Day falls in the rest of Europe.

South Wales Echo - - News - By ALICE CACHIA

WOMEN in the UK are ef­fec­tively work­ing for free from to­day un­til the end of the year, thanks to the gen­der pay gap that women face in the work­place.

De­spite the Equal Pay Act of 1970, women still earn less than men on av­er­age.

The cur­rent gen­der pay gap means that women ef­fec­tively stop earn­ing rel­a­tive to men on Novem­ber 10 - also known as Equal Pay Day.

The day has also fallen on the same date in the past two years, sug­gest­ing the gap is not clos­ing.

It means that for the re­main­ing 51 days of the year, women in the UK will essen­tially be work­ing for free.

How­ever, women in some coun­tries have it far worse.

In Es­to­nia, for ex­am­ple, women have ef­fec­tively been work­ing with­out pay from Septem­ber 28.

In the Czech Repub­lic the date was Oc­to­ber 12, and in Aus­tria it was Oc­to­ber 18.

The data was an­a­lysed us­ing fig­ures from Euro­stat for 31 coun­tries in Europe.

The av­er­age date women stop get­ting paid for work across those coun­tries is Novem­ber 8 - mean­ing UK women still have it worse than some.

Women in Italy, Ro­ma­nia and Lux­em­bourg have the best deal - they’ll stop get­ting paid from De­cem­ber 11.

It still means that there will be 20 work­ing days where women essen­tially won’t get paid, how­ever.

Women also face a gen­der gap when it comes to un­paid house­work, with those in the UK do­ing around 26 hours a week.

That is the equiv­a­lent of 56 days a year.

In com­par­i­son, men do just 16 hours of un­paid house­work every week, or 35 days in a year.

Tess Lan­ning, di­rec­tor of the Liv­ing Wage Foun­da­tion, said: “Women are more likely to work in jobs and oc­cu­pa­tions that are low paid – such as ad­min­is­tra­tive, car­ing and clean­ing roles.

“Women are also more likely to work part time due to their own car­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for chil­dren and fam­ily mem­bers, and part time jobs are more likely to be low paid.

“The ba­sic test of fair­ness for any em­ployer is whether they are pay­ing their staff a wage that meets the ba­sic costs and pres­sures of ev­ery­day life.

“To tackle in-work poverty we need more em­ploy­ers to join the move­ment of more than 4,700 Liv­ing Wage em­ploy­ers who have com­mit­ted to pay the real liv­ing wage, not just the gov­ern­ment min­i­mum.

“There is also a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem in our coun­try where the jobs and sec­tors that women have tra­di­tion­ally been more likely to work in are not val­ued.

“Car­ing for chil­dren and el­derly and dis­abled peo­ple is one of the most im­por­tant jobs in our so­ci­ety, and yet a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of peo­ple in this sec­tor do not even earn a wage that meets their ba­sic needs.

“The gap be­tween the gov­ern­ment min­i­mum and the real Liv­ing Wage based on what peo­ple need to live is over £1 an hour, and more than £2.50 an hour in Lon­don.

“The num­ber of jobs that pay less than the real Liv­ing Wage has gone up in the last year, to more than one in five of all jobs.

“That’s why we need to see more em­ploy­ers take a stand by com­mit­ting to en­sure their staff earn a wage they can re­ally live on.”

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