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Monday, 6 December, 1999, 10:08 GMT
UK working mothers earn less
mother Mothers need to spend time with their children


Working mothers in the UK lag behind their international counterparts in the pay stakes.

British working mothers are paid less than those without children, and less than mothers in Australia, Canada, the US, Germany, Finland and Sweden.

Working mothers' pay
Women with one child paid 8.2% less
Women with three or more children paid up to 30.6% less
Canadian women with one child earn 3.7% less than colleagues
Having a baby least affects Swedish women's earnings
The gap appears to widen the more children women have, according to the research by the Centre for Analysis for Social Exclusion (CASE) at the London School of Economics.

Even taking into account age and qualifications, UK women are paid less per hour than those in similar jobs in six other industrialised countries.

CASE said British mothers were more likely to have low-paid part-time jobs.

More than 2.8 million mothers work part-time in the UK, official figures show.

And more than half of British women work part-time, a far higher proportion than in most other countries.

But the survey showed even those who worked full-time received less take-home pay.

Report co-author Susan Harkness said the variations were striking but not easy to explain.

She said there was no evidence to support the explanations that most readily sprang to mind - those of national differences in wage structures or the selection of women across the sample countries.

She said: "A third possible explanation lies with the family policy differences in the different countries.

"For example, whether in-work benefits like Family Credit or the new Working Families Tax Credit in Britain make it easier for employers to recruit mothers while offering low pay."

Another factor might be the availability of child care for mothers who work.

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See also:
10 Mar 99 |  The Economy
Working women on the increase
26 May 98 |  Business
Holding the baby
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