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TUC report warns that women over 50 are unfairly treated at work

3 March 2014 - 2:41pm

Many women over 50 aren’t getting a fair deal at work – including physiotherapists – according to a new TUC report.


CSP head of employment research Kate Moran: 'this excellent report clearly shows the barriers and discrimination facing women later in their careers'.

The report, titled Women over 50 in the workplace, reveals that many older women are trapped in low-paid jobs and find it difficult to balance their caring responsibilities with work.

Using data derived from the 2012 Labour Force Survey, the report reveals that women over 50 often have multiple caring responsibilities, with almost half (49 per cent) caring for one of more of their own parents and 39 per cent caring for their own children.

CSP members were invited to contribute to the research. One is quoted anonymously in the report, saying:

'Although the gender pay gap has all but disappeared for young women, the report shows that it opens up around the age group where many women have children and never closes after that.'

Many women in their 50s are paying the price for having taken time out of the labour market and having worked part-time are now juggling low-paid, part-time work with caring responsibilities. They find it difficult to negotiate flexible working arrangements or access training opportunities, the report says.

Given the high proportion of women over the age of fifty working in the public sector, it is imperative that the freeze on public sector pay be lifted, it adds.

New employment rights

Kate Moran, head of employment research at the CSP, welcomed the report and said it was highly relevant to the society’s predominantly female membership.

‘This excellent report clearly shows the barriers and discrimination facing women later in their careers,’ said Ms Moran.

‘It sets out the steps that government and employers need to take to make a real difference to the lives of this group of women.

‘We need to start celebrating this stage in women's lives and stop making them feel that they have to apologise for being older.’

The TUC is calling for the introduction of new employment rights to tackle the issues raised. These include the introduction of five to ten days of paid carers’ leave per year and unpaid leave entitlement for grandparents.


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