From education to employment

Gender pay gap is pushing women teachers into pension poverty

women sat down

The growing gender pay gap is leading to a lifetime of reduced pay and leaving women teachers poorer in retirement, the NASUWT – the Teachers’ Union has warned today at TUC Congress in Brighton. 

The Union highlighted that the deregulation of pay frameworks coupled with “punitive pension reductions” for public servants who retire before their normal pension age is pushing women teachers to the poverty line in their retirement. 

The Department for Education own data shows that despite delivering gender parity in pay for teachers in their twenties, women teachers in their forties earn just 80% of their male counterparts’ salaries.

Pay and pension inequality worsens at every stage of the school workforce. In 2018, the School Workforce census revealed that the pay premium for male teachers was shown to be around £900, for leaders the figure was £5485 and for head teachers the figure £8129. 

The NASUWT joins other unions calling upon UK government and the Scottish government to close the gender pay gap and improve public sector pensions, including access to pension benefits before National Pension Age without punitive reductions. 

NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said:​

“The ongoing systemic injustice of the gender pay gap is felt by women teachers long after they leave the workforce and throughout their retirement.”

“Equal pay for equal work and security in retirement is not a radical demand; it is a basic right that every woman teacher deserves.  

“Women teachers are working for longer, giving more but are being paid less both in real-terms and compared to their male colleagues. 

“Gender inequality is widening year on year and at the cost of pay and pension incomes for women teachers. The Government must act to close the gap and end this injustice and ensure dignity and security for teachers throughout their careers and later in life.”

Speaking to the motion National Executive Member and Chair of the Salaries John McGill said 

“The NASUWT continues to condemn this increase in the normal pension age in public service pension schemes and supports the call for an end to the punitive process of actuarial reduction for those public servants who take their pensions before their normal pension age.

“It is clear that the deregulation of pay in 2013 via new flexibilities has made this situation worse than it was prior to 2013. Removal of pay portability, where changing school used to guarantee that your wage went with you, has undermined pay for all teachers but particularly for females. 

“Lower pay inevitably leads to a lower pension, so the impact is felt over their whole life. We need the government to address this clear discriminatory practice and reinstate a proper pay framework for teachers.”

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