Childcare and the Gender Pay Gap – 30/04/2020

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Research (published by LSE, London School of Economics) suggests there is stronger evidence for the impact of childcare and in-work benefits on closing the gender pay gap, than there is for parental leave and pay policies. OECD evidence also suggests affordable quality childcare is the main driver in achieving better female labour market participation outcomes.

What are leading employers doing to make it easier for talented and experienced working parents to ‘have it all’? How do you keep career on track and yet be the parent you want to be? And is helping with childcare the glaringly obvious solution that employers might be overlooking?

By April 2020, we’ll have data from three rounds of Gender Pay Gap reporting. It’s clear that truly closing the gap will take decades to achieve and there are some home truths in the data: it’s not an homogenous picture. The gender pay gap among all full-time employees stands at 8.9%, little changed from 2018 while for age groups under 30 years, the gender pay gap for full-time employees is now close to zero. It is at childbearing years that the gap sets in and never closes.

At 72% the female employment rate in 2019 was the highest seen since comparable records began in 1971 (52.8%) and yet, as the recent Government Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy consultation document on Family Support summed it up: ‘Women who have children are more likely to: leave employment; reduce their hours of work; move into lower paid roles; and move into roles which are not commensurate with their qualifications and experience. In short, it appears that mothers are trading-off pay and career progression for increased flexibility.’

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