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Moms make less than dads and less than women without kids

Seventy percent of mothers with children younger than 18 are members of the U.S. labor force.
Seventy percent of mothers with children younger than 18 are members of the U.S. labor force.

Seven out of 10 women who are raising children younger than 18 work outside the home — a leap from 47 percent in 1975.

According to a Mother’s Day fact sheet released by Carolyn Maloney, ranking member of the congressional Joint Economic Committee, those working mothers, on average, earn 3 percent less than women without children.

That’s a “mommy penalty” compared with a “daddy bonus,” in which fathers with children earn an average of 15 percent more than men without children, the New York Democrat said Friday.

As of Mother’s Day 2016, Maloney said 64 percent of children younger than 18 — nearly 45 million children — live in a household with a mother who works outside the home.

Nationally, working mothers contribute about 40 percent of household income. But that percentage changes dramatically in families at the low end of the income spectrum. In the poorest households, Maloney’s fact sheet noted, mothers contribute 89 percent of family income.

Many working moms are in the “pink collar” sector, in jobs that traditionally pay less than white- or blue-collar work. About 5.1 million working women, including 2.4 million single moms, earn less than $12 an hour. Those who are paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour earn annual incomes $4,500 below the federal poverty line, assuming full-time employment.

Maloney said the national gender wage disparity between men and women means that “the typical working woman can lose as much as half a million dollars over a 40-year career” compared with a male worker.

In addition to pay disparity, Maloney said, mothers face difficulty in balancing home and job demands given that the United States “is the only advanced country that does not guarantee paid leave for new mothers.”

There is a growing trend among large employers to include paid parental leave — for moms and dads — among their employee benefits packages. But the nation’s lowest-paid workers, who frequently lack full-time hours and paid sick days, generally aren’t eligible for such generous plans.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford

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