Each year Salary.com provides an interesting look into the uncompensated work performed by American mothers who are often their families’ CEO, driver, cook, housekeeper, psychologist, and daycare provider.

“Obviously this is all in good fun and in no way 100% scientific, but for the 13th consecutive year we’re doing our small part to show everyone how important mothers are by calculating what they would be paid if they actually received a salary for all of their hard work.”  Salary.com

Salary.com also provides a tool to help you break down, in dollars and cents, the value of work which is generally ignored by government, employers and other official institutions that calculate productivity. 

Here are some basics found in this year’s survey:

·     Stay-at-home moms work an average of 94 hours per week for a total estimated “mom salary” of $113,586 a year. That figure is slightly more than last year. The average salary for stay-at-home moms – calculated based on what they would be paid if they were compensated for their work – rose by $624.

This survey provides a lighthearted perspective on an issue with real economic and policy implications for American families.  What happens to the millions of American women who worked in the home (not in a traditional job) when they retire?  How about those women who quit jobs to become full-time caregivers for a family member?  Unfortunately, far too many women face economic insecurity in their retirement. 

For too long, the real world challenges facing millions of American retirees have been ignored in favor of a single-minded quest by many in Washington to use Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts to reduce the deficit. However, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare believes our focus should be on passage of initiatives to ensure Social Security benefits are adequate for all Americans, particularly for women. The poverty rate for senior women and widows is 50% higher than other retirees 65 and older, yet even as we celebrate this Mother’s Day, this benefit inequity is largely ignored and millions of American mothers, grandmothers, and widows pay the price.

The NCPSSM Foundation, working with the National Organization for Women Foundation and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, has examined the challenges facing America’s elderly women and their families and offered several forward-thinking proposals to modernize benefits. The culmination of our research is a report called “Breaking the Social Security Glass Ceiling.”

Some highlights of our proposals include:

– Improving Survivor Benefits. Women living alone often are forced into poverty because of benefit reductions stemming from the death of a spouse. Providing a widow or widower with 75 percent of the couple’s combined benefit treats one-earner and two-earner couples more fairly and reduces the likelihood of leaving the survivor in poverty.

– Providing Social Security Credits for Caregivers. We recommend imputed earnings for up to five family service years be granted to a worker who leaves or reduces his/her participation in the work force to provide care to children under the age of six or to elderly family members.

This Mother’s Day the National Committee would like to suggest a gift of economic security for our moms.  Of course, this isn’t something you can wrap with a bow but it’s something we should all demand that Congress address for current and future generations of retirees.