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Government Seeks to Wind Back Gender Equity Reporting, despite new high in Gender Pay Gap

Posted 27 February 2015 by Terri Macdonald (NTEU National Office)

Despite new figures showing that the gender pay gap has blown out to 18.8 per cent, the Federal Government is seeking to water down gender equity reporting for employers.

The latest data on average weekly earnings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), released 25th February, shows that Australian men now earn $298.10 more than Australian women each week.

Even worse, the increase is across all 8 occupation groups collated by the ABS

Given the continued rise in gender pay gap, the proposal by the Government to reduce the reporting requirements to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (Agency) for businesses with 100 or more employees is deeply concerning.

The Government's decision is the outcome of a flawed public consultation process, where a review into the Reporting requirments placed greater emphasis on calls by employer groups and the business lobby to reduce or even abandon reporting on gender equity in the workplace.

Below is NTEU's briefing memo on the proposed changes, as well as a review of the Report of the Workplace Gender Equality public consultations.

Discussion Paper
(321 KB) - PDF

If this was a Government that was serious about addressing gender inequality and the record high 18.8 per cent gender pay gap it would seek to strengthen workplace gender equality reporting.

Instead, it has not only watered down a number of key requirements - such as reporting on the renumeration of CEOs and the number of requests made, and approvals granted, for extensions to parental leave - but has also delayed its decision about what details businesses will be required to report for women in non-management roles, which represents the majority of women in the workforce.

Without meaningful data, employers cannot identify where gender pay gaps exist and take action to address discrimination and barriers many women face.

This Government can no longer pay lip service to increasing women’s participation in the workforce and tackling inequality. NTEU joins in calls for the Government to take serious action on improving gender equity.  This can be done by boosting Workplace Gender Equality reporting legislation, addressing inequities in superannuation, improving access to affordable childcare, carers leave and paid parental leave, and supporting the right to paid work with decent wages and conditions.

However, abandoning a number of the current reporting requirements is clearly a regressive step that will only see the current gender pay gap continue to grow.





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