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Closing the pay gap

Closing the pay gap

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson today announced the establishment of a taskforce to progress pay and employment equity between women and men in the public service, in the public health sector and in the education sector.

The Taskforce will analyse how factors influencing pay and employment equity apply in those sectors and develop a five-year plan of action to address them.

“The gender pay gap is not simply a matter of unfair bargaining practices or undervaluing traditional female occupations,” Margaret Wilson said.

“There is a long history of women being paid less than men for a range of reasons, such as working in different industries, having fewer years in the workforce or having different educational qualifications.”

“By taking the initiative in the public service, the Government will show leadership in the pay and employment equity area, and will also provide a model to demonstrate how pay and employment equity policies can be developed and implemented in other sectors.” The work of the Taskforce is the next stage in the Government’s overall policy on pay and employment equity. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs previously issued a discussion document Next Steps Towards Pay Equity and a report on the submissions is now available from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

The Taskforce will comprise the Chief Executives (or their nominees) of the Department of Labour, Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the State Services Commission, as well as three nominees of the NZ Council of Trade Unions. It will be chaired by Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan, who has a strong background in management in both the public and private sectors. She worked in the State Services Commission from 1986 to 1990, was the Manager of the Equal Employment Opportunity Unit, was involved in the development of the State Sector Act 1988 and in the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. The Taskforce will act as a steering group, appointing sub-groups representing the different sectors to carry out the work in those sectors. The sub-groups will be separately chaired by Joanna Beresford, who is an Associate with Martin, Jenkins & Associates Ltd bringing experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She is a former National Secretary of NZEI where she had a particular focus on pay and employment equity issues.

The Taskforce will report to a Ministerial Reference Group comprising the Ministers of Labour, Women’s Affairs, State Services and Finance by the end of the year.

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