The Institute of Fiscal Studies has published a new report on the gender wage gap.
The report finds that on average, women in paid work receive about 18% less per hour than men. It also shows that the wage gap is smaller when comparing young women – before they become mothers – with their male counterparts. But the gap widens consistently for 12 years after the first child is born, by which point women receive 33% less pay per hour than men
The widening of the pay gap is associated with a reduced number of hours on return to work after childbirth. This is said to allow men a regular wage progression, which women lose out on, with men’s wages pulling further and further ahead. Mothers are also said to lose out on wage growth during their time out of paid work.
The Government’s Response
In Theresa May’s first statement as Prime Minister she said that “If you are a woman, you will earn less than a man”. Her government’s response to this, she said, would be to “fight these injustices”. More than that, however, she promised the government would do this:
We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.
In February 2016, the government introduced draft regulations on mandatory gender pay gap reporting for companies. The regulations would mean that companies in England, Wales and Scotland with more than 250 employees would have to reveal differences in the levels of pay between men and women. They would also have to provide the numbers of men and women in different pay ranges, highlighting where the biggest gaps are.
As we stated in our last post, the government is still consulting on these regulations, and it is expected that companies would not have to report until 2018.
The delay has drawn criticism from Labour and trade unions. Speaking to the Guardian, Labour MP Dan Jarvis said that women would effectively have worked for free for four months before 2018, which he called “a completely unacceptable delay 45 years after the introduction of the Equal Pay Act.”
For more information:
- Read our briefing on the Government’s new regulations to tackle the gender pay gap
- See our No Discrimination infographic
- Read all about what human rights do for equality