Pay gap reducing efforts need to be redoubled

Pay gap reducing efforts need to be redoubled

December 7, 2017

A concerted effort to eliminate ethnic pay gaps will be required if we are to achieve the Prime Minister’s and the Minister for Women’s goal of closing the gender pay gap in the core public services over the next four years, says the Human Rights Commission.

Pay gap data, released today by the State Services Commission, shows that there has been no improvement in Pacific, Māori and Asian pay gaps and that the pay gap for pacific is worsening

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says the State Services Commission has led the way in New Zealand when it comes to publishing their data, but now is the time to focus on really addressing the issues that create the gender pay gap.

“Ethnic pay gaps within core public services have remained unacceptably high for the past ten years. All levers to address the gender pay gap must be used,” Dr Blue says.

“We know the critical times when the gap begins at the start of their career, when women may accept the lower part of the salary band and then explodes when they take career breaks to have a family. Experience show us they never catch it up.

“While SSC has been publishing their gender pay gap by department since 2015 and CEOs are required to regularly report what they are doing to reduce the gap - these efforts need to be redoubled.

“The gap grows significantly when women take time out to have a family. There are structural changes that can be made such as ensuring that they do not miss out on their regular wage increases and are supported back into their work when they return. 

“Flexible work options are no longer a ‘nice to have’ but must be an accepted and legitimate part of the modern workplace. It’s also important that effort is put towards achieving paid parental leave for men in their own right so that sharing child care between parents becomes the norm.

“Importantly, budget needs to be allocated to achieve the goal of achieving a zero gender pay gay in the core public services.

“Reducing the gender pay gap is complex but there are some obvious places to start and that needs to begin in earnest,” Dr Blue says.