According to a report, women are more than twice as likely as men to not automatically be placed on a work-related pension.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said its research suggested more than one in 10 women worked in jobs where their employers did not have to enroll them in an occupational pension, compared with less than one in 20 men.
Around 1.4 million women earn less than the £10,000 threshold which requires their employers to automatically register them for a pension, the TUC said. This means that they are potentially deprived of a professional pension.
According to the study, Northern Ireland, the West Midlands and Wales are the regions with the highest proportion of female employees who are not eligible for automatic enrollment.
The Prospect union has calculated that the income gap between men and women in retirement is now 40.5%, more than double the level of the gender pay gap.
Paul Nowak, General Secretary of the TUC, said: “We need to fix our pension system so that all women can enjoy a decent income in retirement. But many do not benefit from any kind of occupational pension. Unless ministers act now, more women will be condemned to poverty in retirement.
“Ministers should start by removing the income threshold for automatic enrollment. Workers should be given the opportunity to build up a pension, regardless of their income.”
According to the TUC, one of the factors in the pension income gap between the sexes is the unequal distribution of caring responsibilities, which means that women are much more likely to be absent from work or work full time. partial to take care of the children. This makes it more difficult to build up a company pension.
Other causes include the gender pay gap and historical National Insurance differences which have left women with lower state pensions on average, the TUC said.
Nowak said: “We need to invest more in childcare and social services, and in the female workers who overwhelmingly work in these occupations. It is a key way to close the gender pay gap. We need to fix our pension system so that all women can enjoy a decent income in retirement.
The TUC wants the government to introduce a legal requirement for ministers to report on the gender pension gap, as well as an action plan on how to close the gap.
He also wants automatic retirement enrollment to be improved, so that it works for people in low-paying or part-time jobs. This could be done by removing the £10,000 earnings threshold so that employers are required to opt for a company pension for all workers, removing the lower earnings limit so that contributions are calculated from the first pound of income and establishing a timetable for raising the legal minimum wage. dues from 3%, the TUC suggested.
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘Auto-enrollment has transformed pension saving and increased the number of women saving for retirement, with take-up rates catching up with those of men.
“When EI was introduced, only 59% of eligible women across the economy saved in a company pension. By 2021, that figure had risen to 89%. »
“We recently confirmed our support for proposals to expand automatic registration even further, allowing millions of people to save more, sooner. These changes will particularly benefit groups, including women, who have always had more struggling to save for retirement.