‘Motherhood gap’ partly explains wage loss for female workers

Employers biased against entries, exits from workforce: TD study
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/15/2010

While education, experience, age and occupation have all helped put women on a more equal footing with men in the workforce, advances in the female participation rate for the core working age (25 to 44) have stalled in the past five years and so too has narrowing of the gender wage gap, according to a recent report from TD Economics.

One possible explanation? The “motherhood gap” — leaving work to have a baby can lead to significant wage losses for working women because employers see frequent entries and exits in the labour force as a sign of detachment and lack of commitment, said TD’s Career Interrupted: The Economic Impact of Motherhood.

Women without children tend to have their wages closely aligned with their male counterparts but working mothers tend to experience an unexplained but persistent three-per-cent wage penalty per year of absence, said TD’s report.