Gender Pension Gap

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2023 National Women's Conference
14 October 2022

Just as UNISON’s women members were getting to grips to working longer due to the increase in pension age (brought in to provide gender equality) we find that a woman’s working career is beset with hidden pitfalls that seem designed to wide gender inequalities and deny us our hard worked for pensions.

A recent report from Legal and General has highlighted that an inevitably fall out of the the Gender Pay Gap, alongside other contributory factors, means that women are being disadvantaged by massive gaps in Gender Pension Payments. Contributory factors include women not making contributions during maternity leave; women taking a career break or reducing hours in order to fulfil caring responsibilities for children or elderly relatives; and women statistically struggle more following a divorce (leading to them withdrawing from pension schemes) or waiving their rights to a partner’s pension. The report details that within the Senior Care Sector 85%n of pension scheme members are women, yet on average their pension pot size is 47% smaller than the average man’s in the same sector.

Due to errors made in by the DWP in National Insurance Credits certain married women, widows and the over 80s) are owed in the region of £1.5 million pounds. This came to light from a July 2022 audit and the extent of the error will not be fully understood until autumn 2022.

Conference therefore calls on the Women’s Committee to:

1) Work with UNISON’s Pension Department to understand the current situation

2) Oversee the development of easy to understand information sheets setting out the issues to be sent to all women members

3) Work with LAOS to develop training sessions for women on how to improve their current pension outcome

4) Work with Labour Link to lobby the Government to lower the auto enrolment threshold to support our lowest paid women and those with multiple low paid employment