WOMEN will work more than a month for free this year as a result of Tendring's gender pay gap, figures suggest.

Data from the Office for National statistics show that as of April, female workers in Tendring were paid an average of £11.21 an hour while their male peers received £13.34 – an overall pay gap of 16 per cent.

Over the course of the working year, that means women in the area will have worked without pay from November 3.

Nationally, the female workforce is paid a median hourly rate of £12.92 – 15 per cent less than the £15.27 hourly wage earned by men.

For full-time workers, the gap is almost 8 per cent.

With women said to have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, campaigners believe the problem of unequal pay could worsen.

Sophi Berridge, from The Equality Trust, which campaigns to reduce income inequality, said: "During the pandemic, women were more likely to be furloughed or made redundant, suffered from the lack of childcare and took on greater responsibilities of home-schooling and care work.

"The slight increase to the gender pay gap indicates there remains a continuing and pressing problem."

Felicia Willow, interim chief executive of gender equality charity The Fawcett Society, added: "Whilst gender pay gap reporting has been effective in getting big employers to act, it needs to go much further – we want to see Government requiring mandatory action plans from employers to tackle gender pay gap in the workforce, as well as sharing data.

"The pandemic has had a tough and disproportionate impact on women, in particular women of colour, disabled women and mothers.

"And now in addition to this, a widening gender pay gap paints a worrying picture."