Government Moves to Close Gender Pay Gap
3 September 2012 at 12:17 pm
About 150,000 of some of Australia’s lowest paid workers will benefit from regular pay rises following the first Equal Remuneration Order handed down by Fair Work Australia (FWA).
The Minister for Community Services and the Status of Women, Julie Collins, has welcomed the order saying that the Government will support FWA in delivering the pay rises totalling between 23 and 45 per cent from 1 December this year to Australia’s lowest paid workers, of which 120,000 of these are women.
The first FWA Equal Remuneration Order details how the social and community sector workers – most of them women – will receive their significant pay rises.
The pay increases will take effect over an eight year phasing in period with workers receiving equal instalments to their pay over that time.
The order follows FWA’s historic decision on 1 February this year ordering equal pay for social and community services workers in recognition of the tireless work they do for the Australian community.
Collins said gender pay inequity currently sits at 17.5 per cent in Australia.
“The Gillard Government is committed to closing this gender pay gap,” she said.
“These reforms in the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012 focus on equal pay – recognising that closing the gender pay gap is central to achieving equality.
“The Government is looking forward to the passage of the legislation through the Senate as soon as possible, ensuring genuine and sustained progress towards gender equality,” Collins said.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions President Ged Kearney agreed that legislation needed to be taken to stop the widening pay gap.
“The situation is getting worse, not better. It’s time we had some affirmative action from the Government on making sure women have the same opportunity to take home the same level of wages as men,” he said.
“Another thing the Government could look at is introducing quotas, in which companies have to take reasonable steps to ensure an equal number of women sit in leadership roles as men.
“We also encourage the Government to continue to pursue its important reforms to equal opportunity legislation and we call on employer groups to be proactive in their support for these reforms.”