Women in the UK are effectively working for free for the rest of the year as of Monday due to the gender pay gap.
According to Eurostat, the gap between male and female salaries in the UK is 20 per cent. The disparity means that by 16 October men have already been paid the amount it would take a woman doing the same job a whole year to earn.
Across Europe the gender pay gap averages 17 per cent.
Britain has the fifth largest gender pay gap in Europe – higher than Slovakia, Portugal and Switzerland.
New laws introduced by the UK Government in April this year will require all companies with 250 or more employees to publish gender pay figures by April 2018.
Estonia has the biggest gender pay gap of all European countries, with Estonian women effectively working for free since 23 September despite the Baltic nation closing its gender pay gap since last year.
Working women in Germany were calculated to be effectively working for free from 11 October, while Nordic countries Iceland and Finland fare little better with women effectively working for free from 30 October.
Italy and Luxembourg have the smallest gender pay gap among all European countries at 5 per cent, but women in both countries will still, in effect, work for free for the last two weeks of year.
“This study brings the devastating effects of the gender pay gap into clear focus. It is absolutely astonishing that in the 21st century women are still suffering such financial penalties merely because of their gender” said Adelle Kehoe, senior researcher at business comparison site Expert Market. “I hope this report encourages women across Europe to continue to campaign for gender equality in the workplace and in society as a whole.”
Grace Garland, researcher at Expert Market, said: “For women to know that the man sitting next to them doing the same job could be getting the equivalent of over two more months pay is frankly insulting and an embarrassment to the UK”.
Wage data in September revealed the UK’s gender pay gap at senior level may be much larger than previously thought, with men in top management positions earning £11,606 more than their female peers on average.