Mums paid 3% less per child

There’s been lots of coverage about the employment gender pay gap following the introduction of the gender pay gap regulations earlier this year but a recent study highlights the pay cut working mothers suffer for each child they have.

Mums get three per cent less for every child they have, compared to their female colleagues who do not have children, new research from Université Paris-Saclay reveals. Dads on the other hand don’t suffer a pay penalty at all.

Lionel Wilner, director of graduate studies at engineering and statistics school ENSAE, founding member of Université Paris-Saclay, studied 16 years of data from organisations in the French private sector between 1995 and 2011.

The pay-cut effect was found to be more pronounced after the birth of the first child.

“Gender inequalities persist within households, in terms of the share of domestic work or bargaining power, but they also persist within firms,” says Wilner. “The gender pay gap, occupational gender segregation and the glass ceiling are the most striking examples – but an obvious example of gender inequality is related to childbirth. The motherhood penalty accounts for noticeable hourly wage differences following childbirth.”

Wilner blames ‘human capital depreciation’ – what he describes as a misused measure of the economic value of an employee’s skill set – alongside discrimination against mothers at work. Mothers can be allocated a role with less risky assignments, he says, so are less likely to receive bonuses or more likely to become trapped in low-wage trajectories.

“This is both unfair and inefficient. It requires further public intervention, including campaigns against discrimination, development of on-the-job childcare, and extension of paternity leave. A paternity leave of the same duration as maternity leave would bring down this gender gap,” says Wilner.

Think you might have suffered discrimination at work?

If you are pregnant or a working mum and worried about being treated unfairly, detrimentally or less favourably you should seek legal advice without delay, as very strict time-limits apply to discrimination claims.

Please call to arrange a free confidential initial discussion with an employment solicitor.

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