GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap
One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span. GPG1 – the gender pay gap – leads inexorably to GPG2 – the gender pensions gap. The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a ‘gap’ requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2. (I’m not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren’t relevant here.)
The most recent piece was by Josephine Cumbo in the FT. She points to the broken career patterns which have their effect decades later in reduced pensions; and to the way some middle class mothers lose out, since their ineligibility for child benefit means they fail to claim pension credits. Plus the risk that divorcees will get no share of pensions in the divorce settlement (something that maybe concerns FT readers more than most).
But it’s part-timers who yet again get the biggest knock. Only those earning more than £10K a year are automatically enrolled into company retirement plans. And if they earn less than £116 a week they receive no NI contributions towards the state pension. Cumbo helpfully advises part-timers earning more than £6032 that they are entitled to join the company scheme – but they have to ask.
As the debate on demographics and social care gathers momentum, this should be yet another prompt for a fundamental revision of the full-time/part-time binary.