Mothers Punished For Working

On way to the uni for the exam

On way to the uni for the exam

If you are a mother and have 2 kids and want to work you will not get much for your efforts. Sad to hear, but it is true.

According to an article by Stephanie Peatling in the Sydney Morning Herald due to having children, tax, child care costs and lost benefits, women are earning as little as 20 cents for every dollar. Is it any wonder that women are not returning to work?

There is no incentive to do so.

Also if you start to earn more money the more you lose in benefits that help you actually work in the first place, so a lose lose if you ask me.

I do understand that the benefits need to help people that need it, however if you lose the benefits that help you put your kids in care, how do you afford to work to earn the money?

I’m not understanding why women are still losing more their pay. Kids are a joint effort, the father or partner needs to help out too. The way this article reads the woman is the one that ends up getting less money and that is all just because she wishes to go back to work and try and get child care for her kids. Again the article does not say that men are disadvantaged due to this.

Aren’t men in the family with the kids and the women too? So therefore the solution to have everyone get access to jobs and be paid well should be a priority for all not just women.

It appears like one person out of the family is penalised for wanting to work and that is the mother.

According to the article:

“The worst situation was for families with two children where both parents earned an equivalent full time wage of $40,000 a year.

In that case, the woman kept only 20 per cent of her take home pay if she worked three days a week but 17 per cent if she worked full time.”

In the article it says that you need to have a high earning partner and you also need to earn a decent amount to actually get more in the hand:

“Families needed to have one partner earning $100,000 a year with the second earning about $60,000 a year and only have one child for the woman to keep more than 60 per cent of her take home pay.” This is still not right, you lose 40 per cent of your pay but it is an improvement on the other examples in this article.

I for one don’t see how earning this is possible with 2 kids to care for (hang on this example is for a couple with 1 child – so I would get less since I have 2 kids, Oh the joys), get to and from school and get to a day job all while caring and doing things as a mother.

This to me would only be possible if your workplace was flexible and you could work remotely part of the time or solely from home.  For me working from home is ideal, I earned a very good salary in the city, however the city is 2 hours away on public transport faster in the car.

However when you mix in caring for the kids and of course school drop off and pick up it is impossible to be everywhere for everyone. Also putting kids in child care negates earning any money at all, so I am not working currently (Until the dream job appears that allows me to work from home, then I will work, or until the kids are at school and more self-sufficient)

Basically the extra costs are due to child care costs. Due to the second child you fork out more money, no matter what the couple earned as soon as they had 2 children the woman took home much less from her pay over a couple with one child. I suppose this is obvious but it does not help the country and the population if we are saying just have one child as you will not earn any money if you have 2.

What to do if you have twins or more children?

You instantly have the second or third child and this gets very expensive for couples.

If you don’t have family or friends to help, child care is the next best thing, although expensive.

I have always thought that the more women that worked or contributed to the economy we would be better off. Although to do this women and families need help to allow them to do this. I am not sure what can be arranged and any fix would cost the government money in regards to benefits for families.

However in the article it states that, “If an extra 6 per cent of Australian women worked, the size of the economy would grow by about $25 billion a year, the Grattan Institute modelling found.”

Due to this great increase for the country and our economy maybe it is an important issue for the government to ensure there are benefits for women and families to allow us all to work. Having more money in the households all over would be a great thing for the individual and the family itself. What things and opportunities could you be exposed to with more funds? Who only knows as it is a guessing game without the funds to allow.

Ms Elizabeth Broderick who is the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner has said that “”Your brain isn’t delivered with the placenta” and ”My advice to all young women is to remain attached to the labour market”.

I do agree and that is why I have continued online study to keep my brain active and to have adult conversation. Also a completion of my Master’s in Project Management will allow more job opportunities in the future.

I do agree to it is a good idea to keep a job to be in the workforce, as women we are the ones that care for kids, aging parents and the sick. Due the caring and the breaks from the workforce we are left with a lower superannuation pay out and less to live off in our old age. Working also helps if there is a breakdown in the relationship and you are secure with your own ability to earn and have savings.

Money is power and allows you to have freedom to do things and go places.

However while I do agree with Ms Broderick in reality it is harder when you live further away from the city that allows you reach your earning potential, and you have no family to help and child care costs are too expensive that it eats up all the money you would earn. So if it is not going to earn me any money currently there is no point working, although I do miss it.

I want to work to help our family build our little empire and to also build something for me as an individual. While there are no flexible options and help to care for kids I will have to stay at home with my adorable and wonderful twins.

Ms Broderick also said, ‘”You can be committed to a family and a job and not have to choose.” I find this hard as this is dependent on how much money you have to pay for care, and if you have family to help you look after the kids. If I worked in the city and had the type of job I had before I would earn a decent amount, but it would be full time.

How do I get kids to school?  I would have to be at the office when they need to be at school in the Blue Mountains, and I would have to be in Sydney. Then who picks them up?  There is no guarantee when I would get home as I might be stuck in meetings and not get home till say 7 or 8pm.

I would have to hire someone to be there for the kids for before and after school.  Ms Broderick’s comment I believe is only so, if you have help and money to allow you to work. I currently have to choose not to work due to no help and no money. What about you?

Do you work as well as having kids?

One of my friends does and she only gets an extra of $30 a month after all the child care has been paid plus other bills.

Is it worth it to only get an extra $30 a month? I don’t think so? But that is me.

Have you got a flexible office?

Do they allow you to work from home?

Or have you started your own business to allow you to have your own hours and the flexibility?


PS. If it was up to me this is what I would do:

1. Give all working parents benefits to allow them to have subsidised care for all kids.

2. Mandate companies and businesses to have more flexible options and working arrangements. Maybe come into the office 3 days a week or work remotely and come in 2 days. Or it could be all done via a work from home arrangement. With all the technology and infrastructure we have, why do we still need to be an office these days?

3. With everyone moving further away from the cities and the jobs,  why not adopt a more flexible approach to working? All companies that I have worked for rave and rave about their work life balance and flexible options but they have never let me experience it. Working from home was never granted even after being at a company for over 5 years and my role was as a web designer that was all done online. Go figure.

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1 Response
  • trish van baast
    December 30, 2012

    This is very interesting. The facts indicate that unless you find a job you can do at home or one that fits in with school hours and is local the little extra money is not worth the stress. Also, you are the best person to be looking after your child/children. As per your example your time is better spent with your kids rather than extra $30 per month.

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