The Human Rights Commission has today welcomed news that a Members Bill, seeking to eliminate pay discrimination and differentials between men and women in New Zealand, has been drawn from the ballot today.
Green MP Jan Logie’s Equal Pay Amendment Bill, if passed, would result in greater pay transparency, with businesses having to forward their pay rate information to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, which will then be published.
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says the Bill being drawn is particularly timely, given the important conversations currently taking place around pay equity in New Zealand.
“Recent research in New Zealand has confirmed that pay differentials are largely down to biases and negative stereotypes,” Dr Blue says.
“This month the Ministry for Women and AUT released research showing 80% of the gender pay gap is due to both conscious and unconscious bias and, late last month, further research between the Ministry for Women and NZ Stats revealed that that the pay differentials between working mothers and fathers was 17%, in contrast to the labour market gender pay gap of 12%.
“This Bill is also particularly timely, given the implementation of the pay equity principles, that the Government has agreed to, where female-dominated, low-paid occupations will be re-valued.
“The Commission has been calling for greater pay transparency for some time and urging New Zealand to follow in the steps of countries like the UK, where from 2018, businesses with over 250 employees must disclose what they are paying in salaries and bonuses to their male and female staff.
“We have already seen great leadership from the State Services Commission in publishing the gender pay gap data of public service departments. With this Bill, private businesses will also be required to do the same.
“The bill being drawn is a positive first step. Further work will be required to ensure that any legislative changes are the result of thorough consultation during the select committee public submission process.
“The Commission looks forward to making a submission in due course and being part of crafting this important piece of legislation.
“The Minister for Women has been very vocal in her condemnation of the results of research carried out by her Ministry. I look forward to her supporting this Bill to select committee,” Dr Blue says.