New Zealanders working in female-dominated professions will have a clearer pathway for pay equity with the passing of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill at 11:59pm this evening, say Minister for Workplace Relations, Andrew Little, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter.
“No one should be paid less just because they work in a female-dominated occupation - this is one of the biggest gains for gender equity in the workplace since the Equal Pay Act 1972,” says Julie Anne Genter.
“Most people do not want to take their employer to court if they can avoid it. This Bill makes it easier to raise a pay equity claim, and encourages collaboration and evidence-based decision making to address pay inequity, rather than relying on an adversarial court process,” says Andrew Little.
Employers already have a duty not to pay people differently on the basis of sex – this Bill helps parties to come to an agreement about what equitable remuneration would be, and makes court action a last resort rather than a first step.
Government, Business New Zealand and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions were strongly involved in developing the process for raising and resolving pay equity claims.
This Bill ensures that businesses, workers, and unions will find it easier to bargain effectively and fairly. It aligns with the bargaining process in the Employment Relations Act 2000.
Pay equity settlements benefit those who have been underpaid due to systemic sex-based discrimination – achieving pay equity and putting more money in the hands of the lowest paid workers has a significant positive impact on their lives, and is likely to have flow-on benefits to their whanau and the wider community.
“A modern and more effective system for dealing with pay equity claims is long overdue. It is just one step in a long journey towards gender equality, the work does not end here,” says Minister Little.
“This Government is taking action to ensure women are paid fairly. We are delivering for women by passing pay equity legislation, delivering record pay settlements for female dominated workforces, and closing the gender pay gap with the Action Plan in the public sector,” says Minister Genter.