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Working fathers earn 21% more than men without children

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Working fathers get paid a fifth more than men with similar jobs who don’t have children, according to a new report.

Dads who work full-time receive, on average, a 21% ‘wage bonus’ and working fathers with two kids earn 9% more than those with just one, the TUC study found.

This is in stark contrast to the experience of working mothers. The report said women who become mothers before 33 typically suffer a 15% pay penalty.

The fatherhood ‘wage bonus’ could be down to dads 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 said another factor for the fatherhood premium may be positive discrimination. The report highlighted international studies which found that CVs from fathers were more highly scored than identical ones from non-fathers, suggesting that employers view dads 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 suggested public opinion in the UK reflected this bias, with more than a quarter (29%) of respondents saying dads are more committed to their jobs after having a baby – and almost half of those who answered (46%) saying they think women are less committed to their work after becoming parents.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “In stark contrast to the experience of working mums who often see their earnings fall after having children, fatherhood has a positive impact on men’s earnings.

“It says much about current attitudes that men with children are seen as more committed by employers, while mothers are still often treated as liabilities.

“While men play a much more active role in raising their children nowadays, many are afraid to request flexible working or time off in case it damages their career prospects.

“We won’t break this cycle unless fathers are given access to independent paid leave to look after their kids, that isn’t shared with their partners. And we need more decently-paid jobs to be available on a reduced hours or flexible work basis. This would reduce the motherhood pay penalty and enable more dads to take work that fits with their parenting responsibilities.”