Fathers working full-time earn 21 percent more than men without children, says TUC

Fathers working full-time get paid a fifth more than men with similar jobs who don’t have children, according to a new report published by the TUC.

The report shows that dads who work full-time experience, on average, a 21 percent ‘wage bonus’ and that working fathers with two kids earn more (9 percent) than those with just one.

The findings are in stark contrast to the experience of working mothers, says the report. Women who become mothers before 33 typically suffer a 15 percent pay penalty.

The report explains that this fatherhood ‘wage bonus’ may 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 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 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 suggests that public opinion in the UK reflects this bias, with more than a quarter of respondents saying dads are more committed to their jobs after having a baby – and almost half of those who answered saying they think women are less committed to their work after becoming parents.

The TUC believes 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.

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.

“Our advice to all new parents and parents-to-be is to join a union – it’s one of the best ways for parents to get a better deal at work.”