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Pension Protection Fund reports first disability pay gap

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has begun reporting its disability and long-term health pay gap after seeing positive results from its gender and ethnicity pay gap reporting.

The company’s gender pay gap has decreased from 20.4% in 2017 to 16.6% in 2022, meanwhile the ethnicity pay gap has decreased from 23.1% in 2020 to 14.2% in 2022.

Speaking to HR magazine, PPF chief people officer Katherine Easter, said: “We’ve found that by measuring and reporting our gender and ethnicity pay gaps, we’ve increased representation at the PPF. We’re proud of our accreditation as a Disability Confident Leader for our success in recruiting people with disabilities, so the next step for us is to improve representation and close the pay gap.”

More on the disability pay gap:

Government urged to tackle disability pay gap

We need to start talking about the disability wage gap

Pay gap reporting isn’t perfect, but greater transparency is necessary

The PPF reported a 2% gap in median hourly pay and an 11% difference in mean hourly pay between employees who do not report having a disability or long-term health condition and those who do.

The gap in bonus pay is higher as there was a 4% difference in median bonus pay and a 49.26% gap in mean bonus pay.

The news comes as pressure mounts on organisations to address the disability gap. At the end of last year the Trades Union Congress called for the government to address the situation, publishing research which showed non-disabled workers are paid 17.2% more on average than disabled workers, equivalent to an extra £3,731 a year.

Angela Matthews, head of policy and research at Business Disability Forum, said although reporting on pay gaps is valuable, inclusion for disabled people can not always be measured via pay.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “Many employees with disabilities and conditions say that it is sometimes the most inclusive thing when their employer agrees to allow them to move to a lower paid role or reduce their job when it helps them manage their condition.

“We speak to many employees who have chosen lower salaries for a whole range of reasons, and they are happy and engaged in their role. The real measure of inclusion is how employees feel and if work allows them to live the lives they want to live while managing their condition.

“According to the Business Disability Forum’s ongoing research, this includes requesting lower paid roles or reduced hours. Pay gap measures must account for this, otherwise we're measuring the wrong thing.”

Gender pay gap reporting was made mandatory for companies with 250 or more employees in April 2017.

Since then there have been calls to extend mandatory reporting to companies with fewer employees and introduce pay gap reporting for other characteristics such as ethnicity, disability and socio-economic background.

To tackle its disability pay gap, Easter said the PPF will recruit people from underrepresented groups and improve their means of progressing within the company.

She said: “We focus on investing in future leaders. We’re nurturing and promoting our internal talent pipeline. We also look for ways to make the PPF a truly inclusive place to work, which can mean anything from improving our office space to helping employees understand the value neurodivergent colleagues can bring.”

Although it can be difficult to collect the data around employee disabilities, Easter added HR teams can improve response rates by being transparent about how the data will be used.

She said: “Through our internal communications, we’ve done a lot of work to encourage people to share and 86% of employees have told us whether they have a disability, which is a high response rate. The most important thing is to make sure people understand how the data will be used, and that it will never be used against them.”