According to an analysis by the Social Studies Office of CGTP, based on data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), in 2020 there were 827,000 workers receiving the national minimum wage, corresponding to 23.5 percent of private sector workers, with 424,000 being women.
Citing the Survey on Earnings and Work Duration, the analysis points out that the businesses with the highest incidence of workers receiving the national minimum wage were the textile, clothing and footwear industry, with approximately 52 percent of workers on minimum wage, the food and beverage industry, the wood and furniture industry, accommodation and catering, the manufacture of non-metallic mineral products, all with more than 40 percent incidence. This was followed by administrative activities and support services, various services, health and social support activities (from the private sector) and trade, all with percentages greater than 30 percent. “As a result of the low wages earned, in 2019, 8.5 percent of working women were poor even after social transfers, that is, even after receiving the social benefits from which they are beneficiaries”, says the document, which will serve as a basis of discussion for the 8th National Conference of the Commission for Equality between Women and Men, to be held in Lisbon.
Women currently make up about half of the active population and total employment and more than half of salaried employment, about 52 percent.
However, they continue to earn less than men, the difference being 14 percent, in general, and 26.1 percent between senior management, says the CGTP study. When comparing monthly earnings and not just wages, the global differential rises from 14 to 17.8 percent, as men do more overtime and receive more premiums, because women continue to provide more assistance to the family.
According to the study, in Public Administration the problem of inequality is highlighted in the access of women to managerial positions, being only 41 percent of the total of senior managers, despite constituting 61 percent of the workers of the sector, something that later is reflected in their wages.
Precariousness is, according to the CGTP, another factor that contributes to wage inequality. According to the Inter study, the data from the last quarter of last year analysed also show that workers with precarious jobs have lower wages than workers with permanent jobs, the difference being greater the more precarious the job is. In 2020, the precariousness measured through the INE data reached more than 712,000 workers, 373,500 of whom were women (52 percent of the total). Precariousness affected 17.8 percent of the total wage earners, with the highest incidence among working women (18 percent). Intersindical also cited the ILO’s World Wages Report 2020-2021, to state that the current pandemic crisis “is having more negative consequences in Portugal in terms of wages, than in other countries in Europe and particularly among working women”.
According to the ILO report, workers saw their income from work decrease after the emergence of Covid-19, with Portugal being the country, among 28 European countries studied, where the biggest wage losses occurred between the 1st and the 2nd quarter of 2020. Portuguese workers lost, on average, 13.5 percent of their wages in the 2nd quarter of 2020, above the average loss of 6.5 percent of the 28 countries analysed, but the women lost on average 16 percent, compared to 11,4 percent lost by Portuguese working men.
The majority (82.5 percent) of employed women worked in services, about 16 percent in industry, construction, energy and water (especially in manufacturing) and only 1.7 percent in agriculture, animal production, hunting, forestry and fishing.
Among services, health and social support (18 percent), trade (15 percent) and education (14 percent), which together account for about half of women’s employment, assume greater importance. According to the same study, the level of education of women continues to rise, with 38 percent having completed higher education, 28 percent having completed secondary or post-secondary education, but the increase in qualifications has not been properly matched in terms of rising wages.