BLOG: Celebrating (commiserating) equal pension day – 144 days too late

Today 24 May 2019 marks equal pension day, which marks the additional 144 days an average woman pensioner in the UK must wait before she will have drawn as much pension as an average male pensioner received in 2018.

Research by Prospect shows that the gender pension gap in the UK is 39.5 per cent, over twice the level of the gender pay gap. But there is no doubt that the gender pay gap and the disproportionate share of caring responsibilities undertaken by women, have significant long-term impacts that result in much lower pension income in retirement.

Prospect senior deputy general secretary, Sue Ferns, says that equal pension day falling as late as 24 May really brings home how much less women receive in pension income.

“It’s not just the size of the gender pension gap, at about £7,000 a year, that is the problem. Often women only become aware of it once they have retired, when there is usually very little they can do about it.”

Prospect has called on the government to produce its own report on the gender pension gap, setting out its analysis of the causes and its plans to tackle it.

“We need to raise awareness of the existence of the gender pension gap and its level in order to build support for the policies needed to deal with it. Unfortunately the government has done nothing at all. I believe this actually breaches their statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity so I have written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ask them to investigate their inaction.”

It is also calling on the government to have better recognition of caring responsibilities in the state pension system; lower the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment to bring hundreds of thousands more women into occupational pension schemes; and, resolve the pension tax relief net pay anomaly that disproportionately impacts women.

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