To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of maternity leave on the gender wage gap?
11 December 2017
The government is determined to closing the gender pay gap, which is currently at 18.4%.
The calculation of the national gender pay gap, based on the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, does not include employees whose earnings are affected by absence from work, such as through maternity leave. Such employees should therefore not artificially inflate the gender pay gap.
However, evidence suggests that more broadly, women’s reduced labour market participation is the biggest known driver of the gender pay gap, which is in part, a result of women taking on the bulk of caring responsibilities.
The UK has one of the most generous Maternity Leave offers in the world, and we have also introduced Shared Parental Leave in order to provide parents with more choice and flexibility in how they divide care between them in the first year of their child’s life.