That there are iniquities and inequities in our society seems to us to be a statement of the obvious. Further, that we might well like to sort through them, consider them and decide which we might like to try to solve. If a solution is possible at all of course.
This does not mean that every iniquity does in fact have a solution:
People suffering from mental health problems such as depression and panic attacks earn up to 42% less than their peers, prompting the government’s equalities watchdog to brand the pay gap “a disgrace”.
Quite why is is a disgrace is something left unsaid. Ill health of any form can and often does lead to a reduced income. It is not true, as some like to try and insist, that all health inequality is caused by economic such, it is true that at least some economic inequality is caused by the random chances of health inequality.
That this applies to mental health as well as physical is hardly a surprise.
“We must do more to tackle the injustice in our society of this mental health pay gap,” said David Isaac, EHRC chair. The figures revealed “the hidden disgrace of British society’s pay gap for men and women living with depression and panic attacks”, he added.
We're not even sure that anything can be done about this. But worryingly the analysis is worse than this, much worse:
Commission analysis of men who suffer from mental impairment, including learning difficulties and mental health problems, has concluded that they are more likely to earn less as a result of working part-time, being in low-paid jobs or having few educational qualifications. Notwithstanding that, however, “there is still a large and unexplained gap and the impact of discrimination and stigmatisation as underlying factors should not be underestimated”.
To be crude about this the complaint is that some stupid people don't get much education and thus don't get nice jobs. This is not, we think, a savage injustice calling out to the very heavens for restitution.
We do think it might be a bored bureaucracy looking around for something to do with its time and budget.
But for an expression of true madness try this:
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at the mental health charity Mind, said: “Fortunately, employer attitudes towards recruiting and supporting people with mental health problems are improving, with many employers now putting in place measures to support staff wellbeing.
“It’s unacceptable that people with mental health problems earn less than those without mental health problems.“Staff who have a mental health problem can and do make a valuable contribution to the workplace,”
It is most certainly true that certain mental health problems reduce the ability of the worker to produce value for their employer. Thus they get paid less.
We're about to get a campaign calling for equal pay for the ill. And that's just nuts.