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PDA concerned about unequal pay for pharmacists

The PDA is using Equal Pay Day to highlight concerns over the lack of equality in pay for pharmacists. This year, Equal Pay Day is on Sunday 20 November 2022.

Sun 20th November 2022 The PDA

Equal Pay Day is a national campaign led by the Fawcett Society in the UK, which is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home, and in public life. It marks the day in the year when women, on average, effectively stop earning relative to men because of the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average pay of men and women within a particular group or population. The Fawcett Society uses the mean, full-time, hourly gender pay gap for the UK to calculate the gender pay gap for Equal Pay Day.

External research undertaken for the PDA this year, in collaboration with the Equality Trust, examined detailed pay information provided by 600 pharmacists working across the sector. It showed that women pharmacists on average were paid lower than their male counterparts in almost every role that survey respondents held. This included ‘pharmacist’, ‘pharmacist manager’, and ‘general practice pharmacist’, with pay gaps ranging from 1.8% to 13.2% in favour of men. Only the ‘relief pharmacist’ role showed a narrow (0.5%) pay advantage for women.

Daniela Rusalim, Vice-President of the PDA NAWP Network said, “It comes as no surprise that the PDA’s survey found a considerable pay gap in all pharmacy sectors, given that employers don’t appear to take enough measures to address the gender pay gap. This news comes against the backdrop of a worsening cost of living crisis, which has the potential to further erode women’s financial situation. I am urging all women pharmacists who believe they are affected by unequal pay to contact the PDA’s legal team, who will provide them with appropriate advice.”

The PDA’s research identifies a worrying trend, with women paid lower rates across a profession where two thirds of practitioners are women. Even if the sector can reach a situation where men and women are paid equally in each role, there can still be an underlying issue as women may be under-represented in senior roles. This can especially be true for women of colour, disabled women, and working mothers, who are unable to get the experience or, in some cases, study for the extra qualifications that they need for promotion. A more inclusive approach is needed within pharmacy organisations to leadership development and recruitment.

Additionally, the survey highlighted that locums from ethnic minority groups were paid approximately 10% less than those from white British groups. The figures also show that relief managers, clinical pharmacists, and community pharmacists from ethnic minority groups were also paid less on average.

Elsy Gomez Campos, President of the PDA BAME Network said, “The perception of non-permanent staff and the way they are treated is not a good look for our profession. Unspoken actions towards this group of staff, particularly BAME, include blacklisting, delays in remuneration, and lower paid offers. These behaviours are grossly unfair and we need to make a conscious effort to improve the way we treat and remunerate some temporary pharmacy staff who are doing similar work to permanent staff. There is no justification for the difference in treatment.”

The government needs to take meaningful action on these root causes of inequality, such as by improving childcare provision, making flexible working available to everyone, and tackling the cost-of-living crisis, as well as ensuring individual employers pay fairly. Employers need to make sure that they are moving towards equal representation of women in all roles, as well as paying fairly within their own organisations. Employers can take the first step by carrying out audits within their businesses, focusing on specific roles such as pharmacists.

Legal action challenging an employer can only be taken where a specific employer is paying individuals unfairly. The Equality Act 2010 provides legal protection from discrimination for those living in England, Scotland or Wales. This protects permanent, full-time, part-time, and locum pharmacists. In Northern Ireland, the protection from discrimination falls under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

PDA members should note that discrimination matters have a strict deadline of three months, less one day from the last act of discrimination or the last in a series of acts. All discrimination claims are complicated, so those that believe they are suffering discrimination of any kind should contact the PDA Service Centre as soon as possible.

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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
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and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

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