The Mommy Penalty: Why Having Kids Means Getting Paid Less

November 18, 2013  |  

Even with some places wising up and giving moms the maternity leave they need, women with children still aren’t getting treated right. A new study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that even now, women with children under 18 years old get paid less than women with older kids or know kids at all. But dads actually have an advantage. Men with children under 18 make more money than men without minor children.

And don’t have more than one kid! Then you really won’t be able to have enough money to feed them all. According to NBC, “women generally make less money for each child they have, even after accounting for factors that would explain a salary reduction, like taking time off for child-rearing and career choice.”

The BLS got its data by looking at median weekly earnings for full-time worker. On average, women who didn’t have children under 18 made $17 a week more than women with younger kids. It doesn’t sound like much but it adds up. Part of the discrepancy comes from the fact that women with younger children might take less lucrative jobs so they can spend more time with the kids. But for women who stay at the same high-powered jobs they had before baby, they’re still treated as though they’re less productive. All women raising kids face the mommy penalty but it hits women in low-wage jobs the hardest.

This discrepancy might not be so bad if dad was bringing home a big check but earlier this year, it was announced that 40 percent of women were the primary breadwinners for their households.

Did your employer treat you differently when you had a baby?

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