Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter have welcomed the Select Committee’s report on the Equal Pay Amendment Bill and a new investment in pay equity tools and guidance.
“The Coalition Government is tackling our long-term challenges and building an inclusive economy by addressing inequities in pay for women,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.
“Women should not be paid less just because they are working in a female-dominated occupation.”
Pay equity means women and men who perform work of the same value should be paid the same, even though their jobs may be different.
The Equal Pay Amendment Bill makes it easier for workers to raise a pay equity claim by replacing the court-based approach with an accessible process based on the existing bargaining framework.
“Most people who made submissions on the Bill supported its intent in a resounding endorsement for our approach to achieving pay equity,” Julie Anne Genter said.
“A common request was for clearer advice and guidance on making a pay equity claim.”
“An investment of $1 million will be made in the Wellbeing Budget to assist the claims process, and reduce barriers previously experienced by people making pay equity claims,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.
“This includes funding for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to develop online tools and resources which will improve peoples’ understanding of the pay equity claims process, by providing guidance and data for their claims. This will help reduce disputes, improve bargaining processes and lead to enduring pay equity settlements.”
“By making court action a last resort, we will lower the bar for initiating and resolving a pay equity claim.”
Further changes proposed by Select Committee include:
Providing clarity on the threshold for making an arguable claim, by clarifying ‘predominantly female’ as a workforce that is, or historically was, approximately 60 per cent or more female. Removing the requirement to undergo facilitation before seeking a determination in disputes, to maintain a low threshold to commence bargaining and provide the Courts with greater discretion.
The Equal Pay Amendment Bill is expected to pass into law later this year.