The Human Rights Commission has welcomed the recommendations of the Joint Working Group for Pay Equity Principles, saying it signals the start of significant change in addressing pay equity and the realisation of a fundamental human right.
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says the recommendations provide the Government with a clear pathway forward to ensuring that workers across all sectors achieve equal pay for work of equal value.
“It is absolutely vital that the Government adopts the recommended principles in full, to ensure women in New Zealand are paid the same as men for work of equal value – particularly in female dominated sectors where historical and systemic underpayment has occurred.”
The Joint Working Party acknowledged that, while they were out of scope for discussion, there were other factors, such as the lack of pay transparency and the effect of caring responsibilities, that contributed to the pay gender gap.
“Because the adoption of the Principles will require amendments to the Employment Relations Act and the Equal Pay Act, there is also an opportunity for the Government to legislate for pay transparency,” Dr Blue says.
“The UK recently legislated that, from 2018, businesses with over 250 employees must disclose what they are paying in salaries and bonuses to their male and female staff. I would like to see New Zealand follow that lead with not only Government departments publishing their gender pay gaps, but big businesses too.
“Last year, for the first time, the State Services Commission published the gender pay gap of individual Government departments. The sky didn’t fall as a result, but rather highlighted departments with serious gender pay gaps, giving them the catalyst to look carefully at the factors that have led to this and make changes.
“I have always said that what we measure, will get counted. Currently, 750 businesses in New Zealand have more than 250 employees and around 2100 businesses have more than 100. By encouraging pay transparency and the adoption of the pay equity principles across these businesses and the public sector we will make real progress towards equal employment opportunity and pay equity for all.”
View our 'Tracking Equality at Work' webtool which allows you to compare which groups are getting a fair go at work and which aren't.