Friday, February 28, 2014

United Kingdom: TUC Report Finds Women Over 50 Face Rigid Workplace

Following an investigation by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) into issues facing women over 50 at work, the TUC finds that a rigid workplace culture is making it difficult for older women to balance their careers with caring responsibilities, leading to decades of low pay at the end of their working lives and poverty in retirement. According to "Age Immaterial: Women over 50 in the Workplace," while a record number of older women are in work, many are trapped in low-paid jobs and are struggling to balance caring responsibilities with work. Among other things, the report finds that:
  • the gender pay gap for women over 50 working full-time is twice as high as it is for younger women, with nearly half of women over 50 being in part-time work, where the average annual wage is under £10,000 a year.;
  • 49% care for at least one of their own parents, while 39% are caring for their own children. In addition, 21% look after their grandchildren, while 13% also care for another elderly relative, and 9% care for a disabled husband, wife or partner; and
  • with the majority of women aged 50-64 employed in public administration, education and health, the threat of redundancy is a major concern, especially as the public sector is set to lose 1.1 million jobs by 2018-19.
The TUC report calls on employers to have a more enlightened attitude to these caring responsibilities. Among other things, the report calls for the introduction of several new rights, including (1) five to ten days of paid carers’ leave per year; (2) unpaid leave entitlement, similar to parental leave, specifically for grandparents, and (3) statutory adjustment leave for sudden changes to caring responsibilities and crisis situations.

Source: Trade Union Congress Media Release (February 27, 2014)

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