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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published new statistics regarding earnings and employment for disabled and non-disabled people across the UK in 2018.

It is the first analysis of disability pay gaps in the UK and seeks to shed light on the differences between pay and employment of disabled and non-disabled people, and the factors that might affect these rates.

The publication draws analysis on disability pay gaps using a new earnings weight on the Annual Population Survey, which is a continuous household survey, covering the UK. The topics covered include employment and unemployment, housing, ethnicity, religion, health and education.

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Within the report, ONS defines disability as: “A person who has a physical or mental health condition or illness that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or more, that reduces their ability to carry-out day-to-day activities.”

ONS refers to an impairment as: “Any physical or mental health conditions or illnesses lasting or expecting to last 12 months or more.”

One of the key figures within the report is that median pay for non-disabled employees was £12.11 an hour whilst for disabled employees, it was £10.63 an hour, resulting in a pay gap of 12.2 percent.

In addition, disabled employees with a mental impairment had the largest pay gap at 18.6 percent, while for those with a physical impairment, the pay gap was 9.7 percent and those with other impairments had the narrowest gap at 7.4 percent.

According to the report, the disability pay gap was wider for men than for women and in 2018, of disabled people aged 16 to 64 years, just over half (50.9 percent) were in employment, compared to more than three-quarters (80.7 percent) of non-disabled people in employment.

However, the ONS notes that around a quarter of these differences in mean pay can be attributed to factors such as occupation and qualification.

Furthermore, the ONS found that in 2018, disabled employees were generally under-represented, compared with non-disabled employees, in the higher skilled and typically higher paying occupation groups.

For example, in the “professional occupations” group, 21.5 percent of non-disabled employees held occupations compared to 16.9 percent of disabled employees. Conversely, disabled employees had higher than average representation in the lower skilled and typically lower paying occupation groups such as elementary occupations.

Across the occupation groups, the widest pay gap of 13.1 percent was seen for managers, directors and senior officials, adds the ONS. The remaining occupation groups have disability pay gaps in the range of one-five percent.

Commenting on these latest disability pay gap statistics, Leonard Cheshire Head of Policy Gemma Hope said: “Nearly ten years after the Equality Act, disabled people are still earning nearly £2 less an hour on average than their non-disabled peers.

“The government are not putting any real pressure on businesses to change this and low paid work is still the most likely situation for many.

“After the electorate makes its choice, the new government must intervene. Introducing mandatory reporting on disability for large businesses will help ensure a fairer deal for everyone.

“Voluntary reporting mechanisms will only ever have a limited impact in achieving meaningful behavioural change. The time has come for stronger measures, so that disabled people can expect the same opportunities as everyone else.”

Since 2014, the disability pay gap has remained relatively stable, says the ONS, mostly varying between 12 percent and 13 percent.

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