Most women who work part-time earn less than the living wage, according to new research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The study of 50 local authorities across the UK found that women working part time earned only 66p for every pound earned by men working full-time – a pay gap of 34.2%.

The TUC described the situation as “scandalous”, saying that UK workers are suffering the longest real wage squeeze in over a century, and that women are bearing the brunt of it.

The lobby group called on the government to “lead by example” by paying all its employees at least the living wage.

The business lobby group, the CBI, said that employers must work hard to ensure they comply with laws on equal pay.

Rob Wall, head of education and employment policy at the CBI, said:

“It is illegal to pay someone less for a job because of their gender, or because they work part-time. Companies work hard to ensure they comply with the law.

“The national minimum wage is set by the independent low pay commission to ensure wages rise for low paid workers without costing jobs. The living wage is simply not affordable for many firms.”

The living wage is higher than the minimum wage – which is currently set at £6.31 – and is based on the amount needed to cover the basic costs of living.

£8.80 is the recommended London rate, and £7.65 in the rest of the UK.

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