The Date Women Start Working for Free in Europe

We investigated the day to day effects of the gender pay gap and found that women in Europe effectively work for free for 2-3 months of the year because of the difference in pay between males and females.


Using the most up to date gender pay gap statistics from Eurostat, the report calculates how much unpaid time the gender pay gap in each European country equates to, and so determines the date that women effectively start working for free each year.

Key Findings

The research revealed that Estonia is still the worst country for the gender pay gap with the biggest difference between male and female salaries of all the European countries. Women in Estonia stop being paid on 23rd September which means they work for free for over three months! Though their GPG has improved from 30% last year to 27% this year, there is still a substantial gap to close.

At the other end of the spectrum, Italy and Luxembourg have the smallest gender pay gap of all the countries in the study. The 5% gap equates to women in these countries working for free from the 13th December. Though this is the best result in the study, it still means that women in Italy and Luxembourg work for free for over two weeks.

GPG in the UK

The UK’s gender pay gap also came under scrutiny as a result of the research. The study found that the gender pay gap in Britain (21%) is still worse than the European average (17%). Women in the UK stop being paid on 15th October whereas the average cut off date for Europe is 30th October. This shows that women in the UK work unpaid for two weeks longer than the European average and overall, work for free for two and a half months of the year.

Adelle Kehoe, of Expert Market comments: “This study brings the devastating effects of the gender pay gap into clear focus. It is absolutely astonishing that in the 21st century women are still suffering such financial penalties merely because of their gender. I hope this report encourages women across Europe to continue to campaign for gender equality in the workplace and in society as a whole.”

Check out the infographic below for more information on the date that women stop being paid across Europe.

Written by:
Zara Chechi
Zara is a Payments Expert, specialising in writing about Point of Sale systems. With a Law Degree from City University of London, she has used her legally-honed research and analytical skills to develop expertise in the Business Services world. Featured in FinTech Magazine, she quickly became an expert in payroll, POS systems, and merchant accounts.
Reviewed by:
Heleana Neil, Business Services editor
Heleana Neil specialises in Business Services, managing the strategy and production of content for SMBs, helping businesses with the challenges and opportunities they face today. Covering everything from payroll to payment processing, Heleana uses her expertise to help business owners make better, informed decisions and grow their companies.