City Cruises

From reduced hours to unemployment, the ‘Mother Tax’

Even though the gender pay gap among full-time employees fell from 9% in 2019 to 7.4% in 2020, there is still a 20% salary difference between working fathers and mothers.

With this in mind, Bionic, the business comparison experts, wanted to find out where across the UK has the biggest pay disparity.

Scotland and Wales have the highest levels of employment rates for mothers in the UK, with 77.20% of women reported to have children dependent on them whilst being in work. In Scotland it works out at 18.67% more women with children dependent on them vs men with dependent children.

For Wales this discrepancy is smaller at 15.20%, but the highest percentage difference throughout the UK was between fathers and mothers in England. Over 21% more mothers have dependent children on them in England vs fathers, a significant difference.

Employment rates of mothers fall 20% lower than fathers

In April to June 2019 it has been reported that three in every four mothers with dependent children (75.1%) in the UK were in work. This is compared to 92.6% of fathers with dependent children.

Almost 3 in 10 mothers (28.5%) with a child aged 14 years and under said they had reduced their working hours because of childcare reasons. This is compared to just 1 in 20 fathers (4.8%).

Glyn Britton, Chief Customer Officer at business comparison expert Bionic, offered some insight into what businesses can do to bridge this gap: “As more businesses have been forced to adopt some form of remote working, more employees have come to appreciate the importance of a healthy work/life balance. None more so than parents.

“If businesses want to attract and keep the best talent, they need to offer more than a competitive salary, and having attractive maternity and paternity policies in place can make all the difference for prospective and current employees.

“As a minimum, mothers can take up to 52 weeks leave after giving birth, the first six of which must be on at least 90% pay. Fathers can take up to two weeks on the lower of £151.97 a week or 90% of their wages. If your business can offer more attractive terms, it could give you an edge over others.

“Other ideas include offering flexible, hybrid working and creating a maternity and paternity strategy to offer support and advice to parents. And, if you’ve not done so already, closing the gender pay gap will give the clearest indication of your support for equality in the workplace.”