TUC passes motion to tackle gender pension gap

The Women’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) has passed a Prospect motion calling for greater action to tackle the gender pension gap as it “deplores” the lack of progress being made.

It follows recent research by Prospect, that found the UK’s gender pension gap, at 39.5 per cent in 2017, is over twice as double as the level of the gender pay gap.

The motion highlighted causes of the pension gap, such as lower state pension entitlement for women, lower labour market participation because of caring and other family-related duties, the gender pay gap, and gender discrimination in the occupational pension framework.

Prospect senior deputy general secretary, Sue Ferns, stated that lack of awareness is a real barrier to tackling the gender pension gap. “Simply debating the issue has raised its profile but the motion itself specifically calls for further action to raise awareness with the public and policymakers,” she said.

The motion calls on the government to produce an official estimate of the gender pension gap and report annually to parliament on progress in tackling it. Ferns believes that until that happens there will not be enough pressure to take the steps needed to remove the inherent discrimination against women from the pension system.

“For example, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recently reviewed automatic enrolment and calculated that reducing the earnings trigger from £10,000 to the lower earnings limit (£6,337) would bring 1.2 million workers into occupational pension provision and 78 per cent of them would be women.

“Despite knowing that women are currently disproportionately excluded from occupational pension provision, the DWP refused to take this obvious step that their own research showed would help address the problem.”

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