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Gender pay gap widens due to pandemic impact as average earnings grow

THE pandemic forced the sex pay gap to widen as most workers in Britain witnessed an increase in earnings in 2021, figures revealed today.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that earnings rebounded this year after the heavy toll of the pandemic on workers.

Median weekly pay for full-time employees was £611 in April 2021, representing a 4.3 per cent increase from the same month in the previous year.

It reported that those worst affected by the pandemic — such as younger employees, men and those in lower paid occupations — saw the biggest increases in its latest annual earnings report.

The rebound in pay for many men following the pandemic resulted in a worsening of the sex pay gap compared with last year.

Statistics showed that the sex pay gap between male and female earners was 7.9 per cent for the month, up from 7 per cent in April 2020.

The ONS said that the latest reading is nevertheless in line with the “downward trend of most recent years.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Women are still getting a raw deal at work when it comes to pay.

“At this rate, it will take decades to close the gender pay gap.

“Government must speed things up. It’s clear that publishing gender pay gaps isn’t enough on its own.

“Companies must be legally required to explain how they’ll close their pay gaps.

“And government must introduce legislation to give workers the right to work flexibly from day one with flexible working options included in job ads, and invest in childcare.”

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