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The Daddy Bonus: Why Fathers May Earn More

Father Kissing SonDoes becoming a father make a man a better employee?

The push for fair and equitable wages in the workplace can split workers along many lines. One thing that is seen as an unfair advantage is what is known as the “Daddy Bonus.” A 2010 study  found that men who are raising children are paid more than men without children. Fathers also get more pay than women.

The “Daddy Bonus” may stem from the idea that a man with children needs to earn more money. Although women have always worked, the idea that it is a man who supports a family persists. It is also possible that an employer subscribes to the notion that men with children are more responsible and more stable (and therefore better employees who deserve more compensation). LearnVest observes:

“…it’s the flip side of the “Mommy Tax”: While women with children experience a so-called wage “penalty,” men, on average, enjoy a sizable income boost for being parents.”

However, as with all studies, you have to take the information with a grain of salt and consider the study participants. There are a lot of fathers out there who may not feel as if they are being paid well at all. CNN pointed out that sometimes fathers are older than men without children and have been in the workforce longer, plus fathers may be in higher-paying jobs. Also, there is a higher percentage of dads working full time (while men without children are more likely to work part-time). And according to the Wall Street Journal, the 2010 study defined men with children as those living with their children, so a father with grown children who did not live at home was counted as “child-less.”

A 2016 poll conducted in England examined people’s perception of parenthood: “…29% of people believe dads become more committed [to work] compared to just 8% for a woman.”

But rather than simply pitting men against women, the British poll also found that both men and women want more flexibility at work. And that may be a good place to start: we will get further by recognizing that everyone wants to be compensated fairly and that even those we think have the advantage are not satisfied with the status quo.