Today is Equal Pay Day and people are setting their #OutOfOffice on email, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to call time on the gender pay gap. Find out how to set your #OutOfOffice. Women earn on average 17.9% less than men, which effectively means we are working for free for the rest of the year. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Caring responsibilities are one of the biggest causes of the pay gap. Without a proper system that lets both parents choose how to balance work and family life, women are losing out. They are being forced into lower paid, part-time and insecure employment, and men are missing out on the joys and responsibilities of parenting.
By demanding a better approach to parental leave, we can reduce the pressure on women as primary caregivers and give men the freedom to take a bigger role in their children’s lives.
This will take us one step closer to ending the gender pay gap.
We the undersigned call on the Government to give all fathers and partners 12 weeks of ‘use it or lose it’ parental leave, paid at 90 percent of their normal weekly pay.
Take real action on the pay gap – a more equal approach to parental leave
The gender pay gap has dropped very slightly this year and women now earn 17.9% less on average than men, down from 18.4% last year. At this rate it will take another 100 years to close the gap. Shocks to the economy, such as Brexit, could result in women waiting even longer.
The government has taken action to require companies with more than 250 employees to publish their pay gaps. This is a good first step, but unless we tackle the parenting gap things simply won’t change.
In order for families to make real choices about how to balance work and family life, they need to be properly compensated. Statutory pay is just £145 per week in the UK, which prevents lots of men from taking time off because families are more dependent on their income. In countries where families receive better compensation and where part of the leave is reserved for fathers, parents are more likely to share the leave.
Making parental leave more equal would help close the pay gap. It would stop women having to drop out of the workplace and men having to drop out of their families. When everyone has a stake in care, it is more valued. Gender stereotypes could be challenged and occupational segregation reduced. Both parents have the opportunity to bond with their children and are more likely to work flexibly after their leave ends - a modern approach to parenting and work.
WE are calling on the Government to give all partners 12 weeks of parental leave on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis, paid at 90 percent of their normal weekly pay with an addition 12 weeks of leave to share as they see fit. The same provisions should apply to adoptive parents, and a nominated person for single parents.