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Mums Miss 30% Pay Rise Because of Part Time Work

February 5, 2018, 1:00 PM
  • 30% pay difference between similarly educated mothers and fathers
  • Mothers not benefitting from pay rises due to part-time employment
  • Less wage progression in part-time work than full-time
The pay gap between mothers and fathers has widened. Image: Getty

Mothers are being hit by a ‘pay penalty’ for working in part-time jobs, according to a new study.

After having children, mothers tend to spend more time in part-time employment, and this results in employers not giving them pay rises that they would receive if they were working full-time, the research found.

As a result, the high numbers of mothers who work part-time plays a significant role in the overall pay gap, and why it widens after children are born.

By the time a couple's’ first child reaches the age of 20, mum earn 30% less on average than a father with a similar education level.

The report was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Monica Costa Dias, IFS Associate Director, said, “There are many likely reasons for persistent gaps in the wages of men and women, which research is still investigating, but the fact that working part-time has a long-term depressing effect is an important contributing factor.

“It is remarkable that periods spent in part-time work lead to virtually no wage progression at all.

“It should be a priority for governments and others to understand the reasons for this.

“Addressing it would have the potential to narrow the gender wage gap significantly.”

Some of the gap is explained by mothers in part-time jobs, or taking a break from work altogether, said the report.

Mothers are also struggling with the high costs of child care, which prevents many from working full-time after having children.

Even before women have children, they are earning around 10% less than men, but the gap increases rapidly for many after they have children.

The study also found that it is now the highest-educated women whose wages are the furthest behind their male equivalents, which is linked to the fact that they lose out from working part-time.

Sam Smether, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, said, “What this study shows very clearly is that as a society, we are not doing enough to value women’s talents.

“That is a blow to our productivity, and a huge problem for the economy as a whole.

“We need to make it possible for part-time work to keep women on the career ladder.

‘Employers should offer all roles, including more senior ones, as flexible working unless there is a good business case not to, and create more senior part-time roles.

“It is time to change our jobs market to one which helps parents, especially mothers, to get on.”

Mothers who work part time are not given the opportunity to move up to career ladder. Image: Getty

One example in the report is that of a graduate who has worked full-time for seven years before having a child.

If she continued in full-time work for another year, she would on average see her hourly wage rise by 6%.

However, if she switched to part-time work, she would see none of that wage progression, according to the authors of the report.

A Government spokesperson said, “Action taken by this Government means that we are one of the first countries in the world to require all large employers to publish their gender pay gaps and bonus data.

“This is not an option, it is the law.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we want to ensure the economy truly works for everyone, which is why we committed to promoting fair and decent work for all and are working with businesses to make flexible working a reality for all employees across Britain.”

Couples with wage differences can benefit from the Marriage Tax Allowance, find out more here.

Have you cut your hours to work part-time? Did it have an effect on your career? Let us know in the comments!

JackieMorrisover a year ago

Yep. Work part time and us part timers almost always get overlooked on pay rise, project work, getting another role within the company and even the everyday role we get overlooked.

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