Equal Pay Day 2020: gender pay gap and the day women in Portsmouth start working for free revealed

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National statistics for 2020 earnings show an 11.5 per cent gender pay gap for full-time workers

Women in Portsmouth have been working for free from October 31, and will do so for the rest of the year, an analysis of the gender pay gap shows.

Every year gender equality charity the Fawcett Society calculates when Equal Pay Day will fall – the day that women stop earning for the rest of the year compared to men.

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This year it falls on November 20 for the UK as a whole, based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) earnings figures for 2020, which shows an 11.5 per cent gender pay gap for full-time workers.

The gender pay gap in Portsmouth has been revealed (Photo: Shutterstock)The gender pay gap in Portsmouth has been revealed (Photo: Shutterstock)
The gender pay gap in Portsmouth has been revealed (Photo: Shutterstock)

An analysis of local earning figures by the JPIMedia Data Unit reveals women in full time employment in Portsmouth earn an average of 16.8 per cent less than men.

The average woman earns £13.86 per hour, while men earn £16.44. The figures exclude earnings from overtime.

This means the local Equal Pay Day would fall on October 31, with women working for free for 61 days - this is equivalent to almost nine weeks.

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The ONS cautions that this year’s figures may be less reliable than previous years, because the coronavirus pandemic has caused difficulties in gathering data.

Last year, there was a 8.4 per cent gender pay gap in Portsmouth. That would have meant women worked for free for 31 days, or nearly four and a half weeks.

Across the UK, the gap has fallen from 13.1 per cent in 2019. The Fawcett Society said it welcomed the drop, but urged against celebrating too early as the coronavirus crisis risks turning the clock back on equality.

Chief executive Sam Smethers said: ‘There are a number of risks to women’s pay and employment as a result of coronavirus which could turn the clock back for a generation.

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‘Mothers are more likely to have had their work disrupted due to unequal caring roles and a lack of childcare.

‘Men are more likely to have worked under furlough, and to have had their pay topped up.

‘The second lockdown looks set to hit women working in hospitality and retail hard while predominantly male-dominated sectors like construction and manufacturing are still at work.’

She added that a quarter of employers were missing from the ONS dataset, which were likely to be the ones hit hardest by the pandemic, while the short-term impact of furlough makes the figures less clear.