UK Policy Briefings
Spring Budget 2021: Women and employment during Covid-19
Date Posted: Monday 1st March 2021
BudgetCovid-19earningsEmploymentgender pay gapPaySelf Employment
- Women are the majority of employees in industries with some of the highest Covid-19 job losses, including retail, accommodation and food services.
- Overall, more women than men have been furloughed across the UK, and young women have been particularly impacted. Estimates for the end of January 2021 see a significant rise in furloughing as a result of the third national lockdown, reaching 3.2 million for women, and 2.18 million for men.
- Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women began the pandemic with one of the lowest rates of employment. In 2020 this was still the case, with BAME women’s employment at 62.5% and the highest rate of unemployment at 8.8% (compared with 4.5% for White people and 8.5% for BAME people overall). Between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020, the number of BAME women workers had fallen by 17%, compared to 1% for White women.
- 46% of mothers that have been made redundant during the pandemic cite lack of adequate childcare provision as the cause. 70% of women with caring responsibilities who requested furlough following school closures in 2021 had their request denied. This has led to almost half (48%) worried about negative treatment from an employer because of childcare responsibilities.
- Employment for disabled people has fallen more rapidly during the crisis than for non-disabled people (1.9% compared with 1.1%) and disabled people are currently 2.5 times more likely to be out of work than non-disabled people.
- During the first national lockdown, those in low-paid work were twice as likely to be on furlough, or have their hours reduced than those in higher income jobs, hitting women in particular as there are twice as many women as men in the bottom 10% of earners.
- By the end of 2020, 546,000 women had made SEISS claims (totalling £1.2 billion), compared with 1,376,000 men (totalling £4.2 billion). There was a clear gendered difference in actual take up rate, with only 51% of eligible women claiming, compared to 60% of eligible men.