Fatherhood wage "bonus"
Labour & European Law Review Weekly Issue 469 11 May 2016
According to a recent report by the TUC, fathers working full-time get paid a fifth more than men with similar jobs who don’t have children.
The report found that dads who work full-time receive, on average, a 21 per cent wage “bonus” and that working fathers with two children earn 9 per cent more than those with just one.
The findings are in stark contrast to the experience of working mothers. The report found that women who become mothers before 33 typically suffer a 15 per cent pay penalty.
The report suggests that this fatherhood wage “bonus” may be down to fathers working longer hours and putting in increased effort at work in comparison to men without children. Labour market figures show that men with children work slightly longer hours on average than those without. In contrast mothers, even those in full-time jobs, tend to work shorter hours than similar women without children.
The TUC says another factor for the fatherhood premium may be positive discrimination. The report highlights international studies which found that CVs from fathers were more highly scored than identical ones from non-fathers, suggesting that employers view fathers as more reliable and responsible employees, whereas CVs from mothers were marked down against those from women without children.
A recent poll by the Fawcett Society suggests that public opinion in the UK reflects this bias, with more than a quarter (29 per cent) of respondents saying fathers are more committed to their jobs after becoming a parent. Almost half of those who answered (46 per cent) also said that they think women are less committed to their work after having a baby.
As the TUC concludes, this research illustrates that fathers are still assumed to be the major breadwinners while mothers are expected to fit in work around looking after children.
Neil Todd of Thompsons Solicitors commented “The report highlights the fact that employers often perceive working fathers in a very positive light but that the same cannot be said about working mothers. As the TUC stresses, this perception will not disappear unless employers themselves adopt a more progressive approach to leave arrangements for working parents and allow flexible working patterns where requested.”