Just 155,000 women earning over £100k…
Despite political parties of all colours pledging to reduce the gender pay gap, the gap between women and men earning over £100k per annum has widened by 23 per cent over five years, says Wilsons, a leading law firm.
Wilsons says the difference in pay by gender continues to widen in the top tiers of income – there are now 470,500 fewer women earning more than £100k than men, jumping from 383,400 in 2010/11. 625,600 men now earn over £100k, while just 155,100 women earn over £100k per year.
The widening gender pay gap may have something to do with current maternity, paternity and parental pay rules. The first six weeks of statutory maternity leave still offers far larger financial benefits than either of the paternity or parental leave entitlements that are available to men, meaning that it often makes more sense for mothers to take maternity leave, and therefore more mothers taking breaks from their careers.
Wilsons explains that the introduction of parental leave in 2015 enables both parents to share up to 39 weeks of what was previously only available to mothers. Despite this, many more women than men still take longer term maternity leave rather than sharing it with their partners.
It is likely that more women take paternal leave partly because only mothers can benefit from the first six weeks of leave being paid at 90 per cent of their normal earnings, while fathers’ entitlements to parental pay are capped at £140.98 a week.