About time for women to be paid more

Women around the country now have a much simplified pathway to being paid fairly following the Government’s acceptance of the Joint Working Group’s recommendations on equal pay, the Green Party said today.

The Joint Working Group on the principles of equal pay – led by the NZ Council of Trade Unions, Business NZ, and Government representatives – submitted its recommendations to Cabinet earlier this year.

“Women have been underpaid and undervalued for too long, and it’s about time the Government took action to support women being paid more,” Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“Underpaying women has been obvious for a long time. We see it in the lower hourly earnings between men and women, where women earn 13 percent less than men on average hourly earnings. We see it in the number of skilled women working for unreasonably low wages across a range of professions from aged care, social work, and midwifery.

“There has been a calculated decision to pay women less than men, and there will now be a more simplified pathway forward for women to get paid a fairer deal.

“This decision is a result of a brave woman, Kristine Bartlett and her union E tū, deciding to take on her employer in order to address historic low and pay and gender based discrimination in her industry.

“We can fix the gender pay imbalance in this country and ensure that every woman is paid what she’s worth, but we need a real commitment from the Government to make it happen.

“As the courts have acknowledged, equal pay for women will mean many employers need to look beyond the female-dominated workplace or sector within which any claim is made.

“I am concerned that the Government’s proposal to first look for a comparable job in the workplace undermines the Court ruling that recognised that pay rates for all jobs in a female dominated workplace may well be underpaid. This requirement may create an unnecessary barrier to the proper assessment of what is appropriate pay for the job.

“The Government will also need to financially prepare itself to pay women in the public sector more, as we expect that’s where a lot of claims about pay inequity will be made,” Ms Logie said. 

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