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Pay cleaners more to ensure women get as much as men, say MPs

Birmingham MP Jess Phillips is among MPs warning that action is needed to cut the pay gap between men and women.

Men and women sometimes tend to do different jobs - and male jobs pay more, say MPs

The Government should push up pay in jobs such as cleaning, caring and being a shop assistant - to ensure women are paid as much as men, according to MPs.

An inquiry by MPs including Jess Phillips (Lab Birmingham Yardley) warned that action was needed to close the pay gap between men and women.

And they said a big part of the problem was that jobs where workers tended to be women simply paid lower wages.

It comes after official figures showed men are earning £105 a week more than women in the West Midlands - and the pay gap between the sexes is getting worse.

The Women and Equalities Select Committee said the problem would never be fixed unless the Government takes action. It’s chaired by Tory Maria Miller, who used to be the Minister responsible for women and equality in David Cameron’s Government,

Official figures last year revealed that in the West Midlands region, median weekly pay for full time workers was £493.10.

For men in the region it was £536.60 - and for women it was £431.

That’s a pay gap between men and women of £105.60 a week.

And the pay gap is actually getting worse, because the previous year’s survey showed West Midlands men earning £98.90 a week more than women.

The report by MPs said women were paid less partly because they were more likely to work part time, where wages are lower even taking into account the number of hours worked.

They were also more likely to be responsible for childcare and other forms of unpaid caring.

And jobs which women are more likely to work in, such as care, retail and cleaning, also tend to be lower paid.

The Government should draw up industrial strategies to improve pay in industries where a high proportion of workers are women, starting with the care sector where nearly 80% of employees are female, the MPs said.

Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley
Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley

On average, men are paid 19.2% more than women - and the government has pledged to abolish the pay gap within a generation.

But it has remained at around the same level for the past four years.

Women aged over 40 are most affected by the gender pay gap, with women aged 50-59 paid 27 per cent less than men on average.

Committee chair Maria Miller said: “The gender pay gap is holding back women and that isn’t going to change unless the Government changes its policies now. The pay gap represents a massive loss to the UK’s economy and we must address it in the face of an ageing workforce, a skills crisis and the need for a more competitive economy.

“If the Government is serious about long-term, sustainable growth it must invest in tackling the root causes of the gender pay gap. Adopting our recommendations would be a significant step towards achieving the goal of eliminating the gender pay gap within a generation.”

The report said all jobs should be “flexible” by default unless there is a good reason for them not to be, so that people are able to fit in working hours around childcare and other family responsibilities.

Fathers should be offered three months non-transferrable paternity leave paid at 90 per cent of their salaries, to make it easier for them to do their fair share of childcare, the MPS said.



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