Is there a "hidden-standard" where an employer is going to give an employee a raise just for the fact that this employee is expecting a new family member soon (will give birth) and will have more personal expenses to cover? Despite the gender: Father/Mother getting new baby.

Assuming nothing about giving birth case or sudden expenses increase case was mentioned in the contract/offer letter and during the initial interview.

To narrow it down, country is the U.S and company is +350 employees.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – user44108 Jun 27 '18 at 5:29
  • What do you mean by “hidden standard”? I’m especially asking for clarification on the word “hidden”, since I know of organisations where there’s a non-hidden rule that says that parents get a salary raise to offset their increased cost of living. – Konrad Rudolph Jun 27 '18 at 8:05
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    There is a pretty clear statistical "fatherhood bonus" in US wages (about a 6% increase in wages for fathers who live with their children compared to similarly-situated men without children or who don't live with their kids), which corresponds to the "motherhood penalty" (a drop in earnings of about 4% for each child, compared to similarly-situated women without children or with fewer children), but the causes of these disparities are pretty murky, and not due to intentional policies--is that what you're asking about? – 1006a Jun 27 '18 at 13:49
  • @1006a I have never seen this. Do you have statistics to back this up? – Mister Positive Jun 27 '18 at 20:30
  • @Neo There's a fairly robust literature on the subject in sociology. Here's a NYTimes article on one study, a 2010 study of the "daddy bonus" from 1976-2006, a pre-print of a comparative study of parental wage differentials in the AU, UK, & US (the published version is paywalled), and many others can be found on Google Scholar. – 1006a Jun 27 '18 at 20:39

13 Answers 13


Would employees get a raise just for the fact that soon they will deliver a baby?

Based on my experience, I don't believe such a hidden standard exists. If the employee wishes to expand their family, that financial burden is totally on them.

There is no "Oh, you are having a child let me give you more money" sort of thing. Not at least that I have ever seen.

You may see a company give a baby shower style gift, but in over 20 years of being in the USA work force, I have never seen this.

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    I have actually seen something like this happen, but only at a small company ("small" here meaning 5-10 employees). In short, the employee got a raise a couple of months earlier than originally scheduled because they were having a child. I'd be shocked to see it as part of some official process, and I'd still be surprised to see an otherwise-unprompted raise be given just for having a child, but it's not quite unheard of. Much more commonly I've seen subtler things, like more flexible hours, leniency on short-notice absence, etc. – Fund Monica's Lawsuit Jun 26 '18 at 21:11

I know I've seen this on TV, but upon review, was subtly different. With a baby coming, the families income needs rose, which caused the employee to initiate a renegotiation with the employer. Since many wages are negotiable, and at this point the employee has established knowledge and a quality baseline, they can often succeed in negotiating a higher wage. The key difference between this answer and the others is that the employer doesn't hand out raises to employees who have children, but that the employer gives out raises to employees who renegotiate, and new children trigger renegotiations.

On the other hand, at least in my field, I've never actually heard of this occurring.

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    This. A newborn might be a serious factor tipping scale from "I'm happy at my job and don't need more money" to "I do need more money". I guess it might be a serious point for the employer when assessing the risk of losing an employee. So it might be perceived as a reason for a raise, while it's just a very good negotiation point and motivator, especially in areas where "fastest/easiest way to get a raise is to switch a job". I think that's a plausible scenario. – luk32 Jun 26 '18 at 23:33
  • @luk32 I'd say having a baby gives you an exceedingly weak negotiation position: "I either get a raise or I quit" sounds rather hollow given the circumstances. I know of at least one friend who stayed at his not that satisfying job, because quitting and searching for a different job is a very different proposition when you're single or when you have two kids to take care of. – Voo Jun 27 '18 at 7:32
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    @Voo Not if there is a demand in the market and one really could use some money. That is the programmers' situation in many areas over the world. It all depends on the demand and supply of workforce. It's factor that makes employee's stance more extreme. If it's hard to get a job they would be less prone to leave current. If it's easy they will be more likely. I am referring to IT market, because around me there, quite literally, is always a better paying position and money is not what keeps people around. What would make you stay or jump if there is always a better paying job? – luk32 Jun 27 '18 at 9:22
  • @luk32 Even if there's demand that still means either a) quitting and then searching for a better job which if you don't just want to accept the first one will take a while or b) during the copious amounts of free time (haha) you'll have while working full-time and taking care of a newborn looking for a new job. I'm working in CS and I still haven't seen that. Or from another perspective: If it was that trivial to get a clearly better job beforehand, why didn't the OP already do it? – Voo Jun 27 '18 at 11:09
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    @luk32 I see, yeah I was imagining a more immediate need for actionthere. If we're talking several months ahead, then that changes the dynamic. – Voo Jun 27 '18 at 11:29

A long time ago many employers based wages and salaries on what they perceived the needs of the employee was. They would pay single people less than married people with children for the same work. You still hear echos of this in phrases like “a family wage” and “a good wage for a young man”. Its possible that there are some older, probably family owned businesses, which still operate like this.

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    I don't understand why this got a downvote. Many small companies in the US practiced something like this up until a few decades ago. There are still probably some companies that practice this. – Itsme2003 Jun 26 '18 at 21:23
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    So the answer to the actual question asked is "No, but this used to happen decades ago in family-owned businesses [in the US]". These days it would likely constitute discrimination against employees without kids. – smci Jun 26 '18 at 22:20
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    @smci The answer is that it used to happen decades ago in many businesses, and it still may happen in family owned businesses. Lots of discrimination still happens, even when prohibited. – Ben Mz Jun 27 '18 at 0:30
  • @BenMz: the question is not asking for the history of what used to happen decades ago. It's only asking about the present. Hence if this is an answer not a comment, it has to start with "No, but..." Unless anyone can show examples of this happening recently. – smci Jun 27 '18 at 0:32
  • "still may happen", "possible that there are", are just guesses. – pipe Jun 27 '18 at 7:22

In the US I think there was somewhat of a tradition of this at smaller companies where people have closer relationships, but I think that tradition is fairly dead.

I can definitely say I haven't been given any raises in these kinds of scenarios.


No, there should be no reason for this to happen without just cause. However, it could be that a raise was already close, and it just happened close to finding out about the pregnancy.

Now, if my memory serves me well, I do recall seeing this happen a few times before. However, it was not a raise, but instead it was a bonus.

Unfortunately, the times I've seen this happen the bonus was always for the woman, perhaps suggesting there was some unconscious gender bias, or even some misconception on "helping" the woman because of some assumed disadvantage.

  • In the UK, where paid parental leave is law, I’ve seen companies offer a bonus over and above the legal requirements but this has to be returned should the recipient decide to become a full time parent and not return to their position for at least a specified period. To be fair, I’ve only heard of it offered to mothers at a time when statutory maternity leave was much longer than paternity. – Pam Jun 26 '18 at 19:47
  • Similar in Germany - some companies pay a (one-time) bonus when an employee has a child, but it's typically not much, maybe 100€. It is more of a token gesture. Some employers also grant an extra vacation day (to the father, the mother is usually in maternity protection anyway). – sleske Jun 26 '18 at 20:12
  • I the US I could see offering a bonus in lieu of paid parental leave as a way to try and encourage a new mother to remain loyal to the company and return instead of deciding to quit after x months of taking FMLA and not working. The main advantage to doing this instead of offering formal paid leave would presumably be that it's discretionary and could be scaled back in lean times, or just not offered to someone management is hoping will decide not to come back saving them the hassle of firing them. – Dan is Fiddling by Firelight Jun 26 '18 at 20:57
  • Similarly, I've seen cases where a bonus was restructured so that the payout occurred before maternity leave began. This was not an additional bonus, just an early payout of an existing bonus to help cover expected expenses. A third party could easily mistake it for a maternity bonus, though, if they weren't aware of the details. – bta Jun 26 '18 at 21:07

In many companies you will get a de facto raise when you have a child, because your company subsidizes your health insurance. If they subsidize the family health insurance at all, they're giving you a raise (in effect).

Companies also often have programs for workers with children that allow them paid time off (maternity/paternity leave), flexible schedules, working from home, etc., which are in effect bonuses often less available to those without children. They do this not to reward people having children, but to attempt to retain employees that may be good employees but will be less interested in working once they have children. These flexibilities may be less available to childless employees, as some companies assume that childless employees value this kind of incentive less (though many companies are equitable in how they allow for flexibility).

As far as direct paid bonuses for having children, it is rare if not unheard of in the US to get that.

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    I wouldn't consider it to be a raise when you use a benefit that was specifically outlined and explained at the beginning of your employment. – Clay07g Jun 26 '18 at 17:08
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    It doesn't "kick-in" when you have a child. It's always there (using your insurance does not "gain" you money, that's absurd). It's like saying that the money you get paid "kicks-in" when you spend it, therefore you get raises when you go to the grocery store. You could argue the technicality of such statements, but the weird phrasing seems to imply odd connections between general healthcare and specifically child-bearing. I think you're being downvoted because your answer only starts to address the question in the last sentence (very briefly). – Clay07g Jun 26 '18 at 17:48
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    @Clay07g The benefit is always available, but the company starts paying more the day your child is born (or whenever you add him/her to the insurance). I'm attempting to add a bit more context to the answers here; every other answer at the time was just "no, they don't do that", which is true, but it's not really the whole truth about this somewhat controversial subject (it's not uncommon for single people to object to companies allowing parents more (perceived) flexibility, for example). – Joe Jun 26 '18 at 18:44
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    At least at my company, I pay more if my insurance covers more people. – Jon Custer Jun 26 '18 at 19:23
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    @JonCuster You pay more, but your employer also pays more (as they're subsidizing the insurance, often 80% or more of the total). Not all employers subsidize family insurance (they might only subsidize yours), but all of the employers I've ever worked for do. (They'll show you the full cost of your insurance in your end of year W-2, if you're in the US, by the way.) – Joe Jun 26 '18 at 21:30

Several employers ago they had a policy that was an adoption benefit. We took advantage of as my kids (now young adults - 23 & 20) were international adoptions.

Other than this I have not heard of getting a raise for having a baby.


Is there a "hidden-standard" where an employer is going to give an employee a raise just for the fact that this employee is expecting a new family member soon (will give birth) and will have more personal expenses to cover?

In my 45+ years of working, I never saw that happen once. If it actually happened, it would be an exception rather than a "standard".

In general, employers never give pay raises just because an employee's expenses increased, any more than they would decrease pay just because an employee's expenses decreased. Similarly, you wouldn't expect an employee to get a raise just because they moved to a more expensive house, or bought an expensive car.

Now it may be possible that a particularly valuable employee was enticed to stay this way. But that's not standard practice anywhere I have ever worked.

  • what about moving cities? in a large company that has offices in multiple locations, or a small company that moves their office to a more expensive region, they may need to adjust the pay to cover for the different living expenses. – eMBee Jun 27 '18 at 3:33
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    @eMBee: That's an expense created by the employer, so the employer is expected to pay it. (But Joe's wording doesn't really emphasize that distinction) – Ben Voigt Jun 27 '18 at 3:34

I have seen it happen once: In Australia. In a small family owned company (10-15 people). And the person who got the pay rise was the owners son who had the title: General Manager. To be fair the owner gave his other son (field technician) a pay rise as well and gave them both new work cars (family SUV's).


Yes, of course it does.

Wages are not paid on anything remotely fair. It's not based on "what value does this employee bring to the company, and how much of that value should accrue to them".

The cold hard logic is:

Cost of raise = the additional salary.

Cost of not giving a raise = the additional chance that the employee will quit, multiplied by the costs of them quitting (mostly lost productivity).

So to get a raise, an employee needs to make the employer believe there is a significant chance of the employee quitting, and that a raise will significantly decrease this chance.

One such way to achieve this, is to apply for a better paid job, receive the job offer, and tell your employer. This shows that you are serious about quitting (going to a lot of effort), and have low risk better options.

Another way to achieve this, is to let your employer know that your current salary is insufficient. Providing a reason, such as an upcoming baby, shows that you are more serious than someone who just says they want more money. It would work just as well if the reason were medical bills, flood damage to a house that insurance won't cover, wanting to buy a house or pretty much any other expense.

Note of course that no HR team would ever admit they take this into consideration.


Not that I'm aware of. What happens in an employee's private life is their business, and if they want a raise they will have to negotiate for it.

Now, if the emplpyer wants to give them a raise for that, that's also their business.

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    This sure reads a lot like my answer. – Mister Positive Jun 26 '18 at 16:43
  • @Neo no plagiarism intended - was typing this up and received a phonecall before I could submit it. – user1666620 Jun 26 '18 at 16:44


There was a story in the NYT recently that addressed a related question: how does childbirth effect income?

Even in the most progressive northern European countries, it looks like this: Imgur

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    As is typical with these charts, they don't show what is asked. The research showed that women work less, thus earning less. – pipe Jun 27 '18 at 7:48

Could be a retention thing - most western countries offer some kind of paid maternity leave, but to qualify you have to return to work afterwards. Some countries offer paid paternity leave.

In the US there is no such leave, so it would have to be Personal Time Off or Annual Leave, which could be paid or unpaid. Once spending a week or two outside of work, the employee might reevaluate their priorities and decide to not return to work.

It would make sense for the employer to offer this pay rise starting "from the date you return to work" as an encouragement to return and keep that training/upskilling investment.

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