22-Nov-21 | Shani's Blog

Disabled workers earn nearly £3500 a year less than non-disabled employees

Disabled workers earn £3500 less that non-disabled workers

16.5% – that’s how much more non-disabled employees make than disabled employees. That amounts to almost £3500 a year.

Tuesday November 9 was calculated by the TUC as disability pay gap day for 2021, the day on which disabled workers effectively stop getting paid and work for free for the last 52 days of the year.

We already know disabled workers are less likely to have a paid job and when they do, they earn substantially less than their non-disabled peers.

The TUC analysis shows that:

  • Non-disabled employees earn on average £1.90 an hour (16.5 per cent) more than disabled employees – or £3,458 more a year based on a 35-hour week.
  • Disabled women face an even bigger pay gap, with non-disabled men paid on average 32 per cent (£3.50 an hour, or around £6,370 a year) more than disabled women.
  • Disabled workers from ethnic minority backgrounds face an unemployment rate of 13.7 per cent, compared to 3.7 per cent for white non-disabled workers.
  • Disabled workers were twice as likely to have had to visit a food bank than non-disabled workers.
  • 40% of disabled workers have faced financial difficulty during the pandemic, compared to 27% of those without a disability.
  • Disabled workers have been “hit hardest” financially by Covid-19 pandemic.

Disabled workers continue to be undervalued both in-work and while applying for work. One thing businesses and organisations can do straightaway is voluntary disability employment pay gap reporting. Here’s a handy guide by Scope on how and where to get started.


Shani Dhanda is a multi-award-winning social entrepreneur and disability specialist. Her intersectional activism is inspired by the barriers she has and continues to face as a South Asian woman who experiences disability. Shani was named as one of the BBC 100 Women List, CEO Magazine’s 16 most influential women in leadership for 2021 and made top 10 of The Shaw Trust Power 100 List of the UK’s most influential disabled people.

As a keynote speaker and practitioner for inclusion across business, government, non-profit and wider society, Shani helps organisations break barriers and integrate inclusion into their business frameworks.

Shani has taken change into her own hands and founded and leads numerous organisations to improve representation and challenge social inequality globally.
Shani’s style and approach are described as ‘a winning combination of authenticity and passion, helping to remove the awkwardness and fear of having confident conversations about disability within business and society.’