Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

British Mothers Are Losing Out on Pay Rises

  • Women earn about 20% less per hour than men on average: IFS
  • Pay gap for highest-educated women no narrower than in 1993

Mothers in Britain are still paying a significant penalty for working part-time, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

In a report published Monday, the London-based research firm said female employees get about 20 percent less per hour than their male counterparts and can expect to be earning a third less by the time their first child turns 20.

Part-Time Penalty

Women who work fewer hours to look after children are missing out on pay progression

Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies

While the gap has fallen to 18 percent for the less well educated, from 28 percent in 1993, there has been no improvement at all for female graduates -- who still earn 22 percent below their male peers. The IFS said a key factor is that women make up the vast majority of part-time workers, who miss out the wage increases enjoyed by people who work full time as they gain experience.

“It is remarkable that periods spent in part-time work lead to virtually no wage progression at all,” said Monica Costa Dias, an IFS associate director who helped write the report. “It should be a priority for governments and others to understand the reasons for this.”

The question of equal pay is under the spotlight in the U.K. as firms near an April deadline to comply with new disclosure rules. High profile cases of wage disparities -- such as among staff at public broadcaster the BBC -- have drawn criticism from politicians and public alike.

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