FEMALE police officers and hospital staff in Essex earn around 80p for every pound their male co-workers take home.

The deadline for companies to submit reports to the government detailing how much more or less their female workers make than their male counterparts passed last week.

Now the best performing and worst offending companies in Essex and Epping Forest are online for all to see.

On a county level, women working for Essex Police earn 20.7 per cent less an hour than men on median average, which ranks all male and female workers in wage order and then compares the middle earner.

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: "The data in our gender pay report does identify that a gap exists and the force is working hard to solve the issues which have caused that gap.

"Importantly, the gap is not because men are being paid more than women for the same work, but because more men than women are in ranks about inspector level and at the equivalent police staff grade.

"We are exploring and addressing the issues behind that and will work closely with staff associations and representative bodies to further gender progression across the force."

The Princess Alexandra NHS Trust had a 18.8 per cent median wage gap and a sizeable 29 per cent mean gap, suggesting a small group of men at the top earned significantly more than their female colleagues in an organisation where women outnumber men three to one.

The county's female fire service workers earned 87p for every pound their male counterparts earned, ambulance service operatives 97p and county council employees 90p.

At Epping Forest District Council - where 56 per cent of the workforce is female - women make 16.2 per less than men, a slightly better performance than Epping Forest College where women took home 83p for the average man's pound.

In a report published last year, council officers argued the gap was not to do with women being paid less than men for doing the same jobs, but because men had risen to higher, better paid positions - a trend seen across the country.

The repot reads: "The vast majority of organisations have a gender pay gap and we are pleased to be able to say that Epping Forest District Council’s gap compares favourably with that of other organisations, including those within the public sector.

"This pattern from the UK economy as a whole is reflected in the make-up of Epping Forest District Council’s workforce, where the majority of its lower graded posts are held by women, while the majority of line manager and senior manager roles are held by men."