Gender pay gap means Midlothian women "work for free"
Midlothian's gender pay gap means women will effectively work nine days for free this year, figures suggest.
Campaigners have called on the Government to act after data revealed a "worrying" gender pay gap between the earnings of men and women across the UK.
Estimates from the Office for National statistics show that as of April, female workers in Midlothian were paid an average of £14.47 an hour while their male peers received £14.81 – an overall pay gap of two per cent.
Over the course of the working year, that means, in effect, women in the area will have worked without pay from December 22.
Nationally, the female workforce is paid a median hourly rate of £12.92 – 15 per cent less than the £15.27 hourly wage earned by men. For full-time workers, the gap is almost eight per cent.
The ONS said estimates for this year are subject to some uncertainty due to the pandemic but the figures suggest the gap for full-time workers has widened slightly nationally since April 2020.
Sophi Berridge, from The Equality Trust, which campaigns to reduce income inequality, said: "During the pandemic, women were more likely to be furloughed or made redundant, suffered from the lack of childcare and took on greater responsibilities of home-schooling and care work. The slight increase to the gender pay gap indicates there remains a continuing and pressing problem."
She said employers should consider introducing subsidised childcare, access to paid time off for both parents and robust training and support for women.
The gender pay gap is the estimated difference between the average hourly wage for men and women across all jobs and is different from the concept of equal pay, which means men and women doing the same job must be paid the same.
A spokeswoman for the Government's Equality Hub said the pandemic had had a serious impact on the work-place and wider economy and will continue to do so.
She added: "The Government will continue working to make the UK a fairer place to live. We are committed to making work-places more equal to allow everyone to reach their potential."