Business woman (3)

Women in full-time employment are effectively working for free for the rest of 2015 due to the gender pay gap, a campaign group has highlighted.

With official figures showing that men earn 14.2% per hour more than women, female workers will effectively not earn anymore until the start of 2016 from today, known as Equal Pay Day.

Equal Pay Day is taking place five days later than in 2014, meaning that the pay gap is closing.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality in the workplace, said: "There has never been a better opportunity to close the pay gap for good. Progress has stalled in recent years but with real commitment for government and employers, together with action from women and men at work, we could speed up progress towards the day when we can consign it to history.

"It is time to have the conversation and ask your employer if they are ready for the new pay gap reporting requirements."

Despite an evident closing of the pay gap, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said that among the top 5% of earners in the UK, the gap is 45.9%. And among the top 2% of earners, the gap widens to more than 50%.

"It is shocking the UK still has such a large gender pay differences at the top of the labour market after more than four decades of equal pay and sex discrimination legislation," said Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC.

"We need pay transparency, equal pay audits and a requirement on companies to tackle gender inequality - or face fines."