Earnings: Mothers and Fathers Debate

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Department: Department for Education
Wednesday 13th March 2024

(3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Asked by
Lord Sikka Portrait Lord Sikka
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the research by campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed showing that mothers in the United Kingdom earned £4.44 less an hour than fathers in 2023.

Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education (Baroness Barran) (Con)
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My Lords, data on the gender pay gap is collected by the Office for National Statistics and published annually, with the latest results published in November 2023. These showed that the pay gap between men and women in full-time work aged 30 to 39, which is the average age of parents when they first have children, was 4.7% in 2023, down from 11% in 1997. The publication does not include information on pay gaps between mothers and fathers, and this information is not included in any routine publication of the ONS. The results of the analysis and the data and methods that were used by the group Pregnant Then Screwed have not been published; the Government are therefore unable to assess their basis.

Lord Sikka Portrait Lord Sikka (Lab)
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My Lords, my Question is about the motherhood penalty, which is also a major cause of child poverty. The 2016 survey by the Equality and Human Rights Commission reported that 77% of working mothers experienced discrimination during pregnancy and maternity leave and on return from maternity leave. The Minister said that the Government do not have any information. Why not? Why do the Government not collect any data about pregnancy and maternity discrimination suffered by women? In the absence of that information, how can they eradicate that discrimination?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I think the noble Lord might want to look again at what I said. I absolutely did not say that the Government do not gather any information on discrimination. Our domestic law on maternity discrimination is absolutely clear: discriminating against women in the workplace because they are pregnant or new mothers is unlawful.