·         Women’s Pay Day – the day the average women starts getting paid compared to the average man – is today (Wed 4 March) 

·         Yet women workers in Dorset only start getting paid on Wednesday 18 March due to a bigger gender pay gap

·         TUC is calling for more action from employers and government to reduce gap

The average woman in Dorset effectively works more than two months for free compared to the average man, according to analysis published today (Wednesday) by the TUC.

With a pay gap of 21.3%, it means women in Dorset work 77 days for free.

The current gender pay gap for all women workers in the South West stands at 17.6%, with the UK wide gender pay gap doing marginally better at 17.3%.

This means that women in the UK and the South West don’t have to wait as long (Wednesday 4 March and Thursday 5 March respectively).

The federation of trade unions warns that unless more is done to close the pay gap, the UK will experience yet another generation of women earning less than men.

Low-pay vs unequal pay 

The TUC analysis published today also highlights areas in the South West that are known to have higher levels of low-paid and insecure work, have some of the lowest pay gaps.

In Mid Devon, Torridge and the Forest of Dean, where over a third of jobs are paid below the real living wage, the gender pay gap is much lower (on average around 7%) with women only having to wait no more than one month until their pay day.

The longest waits in the South West region is in largely in the Gloucestershire area with places like Tewkesbury, Gloucester and South Gloucestershire having to wait until the end of March or even April before they start getting paid – effectively a quarter of the year.

Sectors still needing big improvements

Sectors known to have gender pay gap problems include:

·                     Financial services (33.7%)

·                     Legal activities (37.9%)

·                     Education professions (25.9%)

·                     Professional, scientific and technical sectors (22.7%)

In these sectors women are typically paid much less on average than men, both because they are more likely to be in part-time jobs and because they are in lower-paid roles.

TUC Regional Secretary of the South West Nigel Costley said:

“Half a century since women fought for the right to equal pay, we are still seeing too many women being paid less than men because of their gender.

“At this rate, it will take another 50 years to close the gender pay gap.

“And it seems that the only way women get to earn the same as their male colleagues is if they earn a rock-bottom low wage where everyone is stuck at the start. That’s not right.

“Clearly just publishing gender pay gaps isn’t enough. Companies must be required to explain what steps they’ll take to close their gender pay gaps – and bosses who don’t comply should be fined.

“We also need to see many more employers provide families-friendly rights at work. Flexible working for everyone should be a right at work from the day you start.

“Every year unions help thousands of women get the pay they deserve. And workplaces that recognise unions are more likely to have family-friendly policies and fair pay. That’s why every woman should join a union.”

– The gender pay gap: The overall gender pay gap is calculated using all median hourly pay, excluding overtime, for all male and female employees using the latest ONS ASHE data. The gender pay gap percentage (17.3% in the latest ASHE data) is then translated into days of the year (63 days) when women start earning the equivalent to men. For more information visit: www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/annualsurveyofhoursandearnings/2019
– This year our women’s pay day is calculated slightly differently from last year. Last year we reported on the day women stopped working for free, rather than the day women start to get paid. Therefore like for like, would mean last year the equivalent pay day fell on 7 March 2019. And if you were to compare last year with this year, the pay day would be 3 March 2020.

– Women’s Pay Day by region, source the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2019.

Local Authority in the South West

Gender Pay Gap

Number of days women work for free

Women’s Pay Day



109 days

19 April 2020



92 days

2 April 2020



89 days

29 March 2020



88 days

29 March 2020



87 days

27 March 2020



78 days

19 March 2020

South Gloucestershire


78 days

19 March 2020



77 days

18 March 2020



77 days

18 March 2020

North Somerset 


76 days

17 March 2020

West Devon


72 days

13 March 2020

Bath and NE Somerset


68 days

8 March 2020

South West average


64 days

5 March 2020

UK average


63 days

4 March 2020

North Devon


63 days

4 March 2020



62 days

3 March 2020



61 days

2 March 2020

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole


61 days

1 March 2020

South Somerset


61 days

1 March 2020

East Devon


59 days

29 February 2020



59 days

28 February 2020



56 days

25 February 2020



54 days

24 February 2020

South Hams


53 days

23 February 2020



53 days

22 February 2020

Somerset West & Taunton


52 days

21 February 2020



47 days

17 February 2020



38 days

8 February 2020



34 days

4 February 2020

City of Bristol


32 days

2 February 2020

Mid Devon


28 days

28 January 2020

Forest of Dean


26 days

27 January 2020



23 days

24 January 2020



-28 days

3 December 2019

– Since 2011 the gender pay gap has fallen by an average of just 0.4 percentage points a year. At this rate it will take around 50 years (until 2067) to achieve pay parity between men and women.

– Gender pay gap reporting:  From 1 April 2017, the government ruled that large companies have to publish information about the difference between average male and female earnings. The TUC believes the government must go further and wants employers to be made to carry out equal pay audits, and to produce action plans to close the pay gap in their workplace. The TUC also wants companies that fail to comply with the law to receive instant fines.

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