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    The parenthood penalty is becoming a realistic concern

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    The possibility of a parenthood penalty demonstrates that behaviours toward working parents have yet to evolve, according to diversity consultancy The Clear Company.

    In light of recent research highlighting that the gender pay gap remains prolific in the UK and further reports of an emergence of the ‘fatherhood penalty’, The Clear Company has raised concerns that we will soon reach a point where all parents are penalised during employment.

    According to a PwC report, three in five professional female work returners are moved into lower-skilled or lower-paid roles. The 2017 Modern Families Index has also revealed that 47% of working fathers want a less stressful job in order to improve work-life balance, with more than a third willing to take a pay cut for this.

    These statistics suggest that employers have yet to alter perceptions of working parents and develop a culture that embraces these individuals, as Kate Headley, Director at The Clear Company explains. “The motherhood penalty has long been an issue that’s needed to be addressed by businesses. Just because a woman has taken a career break in order to have a family doesn’t mean they are any less capable of returning to their original job or worth less than those who haven’t made this life choice.

    “The fact that we are now seeing a rise in men struggling to balance family life with work and considering pay cuts in order to spend better quality time with their children, suggests that age-old attitudes still haven’t changed.

    “We’re operating in the gig economy – a fact which most company owners have accepted. However, unless this idea of a parenthood penalty is stamped out now, firms will soon find themselves facing a backlash from parents, both male and female, who feel they are being unfairly treated. As we have come such a long way in providing a more flexible working environment, it is almost a step backwards that parents feel the need to take a pay cut in order have the work-life balance that should be readily available to them.”

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson