MEDIA RELEASE: ACTION NEEDED TO CLOSE PAY GAP FURTHER - TUESDAY, 13 NOVEMBER 2018

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION & TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 
THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT & WORKPLACE
RELATIONS
MEMBER FOR GORTON
 

ACTION NEEDED TO CLOSE PAY GAP FURTHER

While there are some positive trends in the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (WGEA) 2017-18 scorecard that show improvement in the gender pay gap, more action is needed.

The report shows there is still a 21.3 per cent gap in total remuneration and the pay gap is actually growing in some sectors like construction and health.

On average, women still take home $25,000 less each year.

Labor established WGEA and introduced pay equity reporting last time we were in government. It’s great to see that after five years of reporting, the overall gap is narrowing and there are far more employers analysing their pay data.

But it’s important to note that stagnant wages – particularly for men – has been one of the biggest factors in narrowing of the gap. This isn’t how we want to close the gap.

There’s a big gap between employers analysing their pay data and actually doing something about it. Over 40 per cent of employers who did a gender pay audit took no action to close it.
That’s why Labor’s proposal to boost pay transparency is so important. Requiring companies with over 1,000 employees to report their gender pay gap publically will give them an incentive to close their pay gap, not just measure it.

The gender pay gap is one of the most persistent forms of inequality in the Australian economy. Instead of celebrating when it’s trending down and scratching our heads when it creeps up again, we need to take serious action to close the gap.

Labor has committed to lead a national push to close the gender pay gap. We will:

  • Set staged and progressive targets to close the gender pay gap, and to make an annual progress statement to Parliament;
  • Legislate so companies with more than 1000 employees have to report their gender pay gap publicly;
  • Change the Fair Work Act to prohibit pay secrecy clauses and give employees the right to disclose (or not disclose) their pay;
  • Require WGEA to publish a list that shows whether a company with more than 1,000 employees has undertaken a gender pay gap audit and reported the result to its board; and 
  • Require all Australian government departments and agencies to conduct gender pay audits within the first year of a Labor Government.  

Labor will also pay superannuation to parents when they are on Commonwealth paid parental leave schemes – in recognition that taking time out of the workforce to have children plays a role in women’s financial security in retirement.

TUESDAY, 13 NOVEMBER 2018