How to expand the gender pay gap

We\’re all up with the fact that the gender pay gap is actually a mothers\’ pay gap. It\’s the taking of time out of the labour force to have, wean and then tend for the \’ickle darlin\’s which leads to the disparity in pay, on average, between men and women.

One part of that is that paying the costs of maternity leave increases the potential costs to an employer of hiring a woman of fertile age. Another part of it is that longer maternity leaves lead to longer absences from hte labour force and thus the greater diminution of human capital. And of course higher maternity pay will lead, at the margin, to both: both higher costs for employers and longer absences from the market (as many women don\’t currently take their full entitlement to maternity leave).

So, if we were to plot a manner in which we might increase the gender pay gap what would we do? Yes, that\’s right, we would up the pay to mothers on maternity leave.

The move to extend maternity leave to 20 weeks for women across Europe was first proposed earlier this year in the EU\’s Pregnant Workers\’ Directive, but held up after Conservative MEPs demanded that an “impact assessment” of the costs be drawn up.

This has now been produced – and shows that taxpayers within the EU would be forced to pay more than £100 billion between now and 2030 to fund the move.

Britain would have to pick up nearly half of the costs, around £48 billion, because the Government currently bears a relatively small fraction of maternity costs compared to other EU nations.

Isn\’t that lovely boys and girls? Even as the EU rails and fulminates against the very existence of the gender pay gap they plan to increase it.

Quite how this contributes to Germany not invading France again I\’m not quite sure.

Can we leave yet?

5 thoughts on “How to expand the gender pay gap”

  1. You are missing the point completely.

    This is not about women vs men (whatever the rights or wrongs of that debate).

    This is about corporatism.

    The large businesses with hundreds or thousands of employees, with a staff turnover of dozens or hundreds a year, can easily cope if x% of their workforce are on maternity leave at any one time. It’s easier welcoming a mother back after maternity leave than interviewing, hiring and training a new employee. If she doesn’t come back, well fine, that is part of their business model.

    This is about f***ing over the small business with five or ten employees, for whom the hassle of losing a key employee at random intervals, (with the obligation to instate somebody on maternity leave cover, and having to pay over the odds for that person on the off-chance that the new mother comes back to work) is a REAL killer.

    Anything that comes from the EU favours the large business with the large lobbies and the tasty directorships.

    It has nothing to do with the mothers’ pay gap, remembering that the welfare system more or less plasters over this gap, and that every stay-at-home mother has (or ought to have) a working husband who bears half of that mothers’ pay gap by splitting his income with her.

  2. Pingback: Britblog Roundup No 282 - Philobiblon

  3. @ Mark Wadsworth. You’re right that big companies favour more regulation for the reasons you give, but screwing small businesses won’t be outcome. They’ll just stop employing women, although illegal it would be difficult to prove.

  4. TBF, that’s true, but then they’ll introduce more legislation to do over the small businesses yet again. Don’t forget that it was the head of personnel from Sainsbury’s who ‘helped’ Gordon Brown goldplate the EU Directive into UK law a couple of years ago. I’m sure they’ll have more up their sleeves.

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