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Pay equity taskforce good first step

Pay equity taskforce good first step

The Green Party welcomes the Government's pay equity taskforce, saying it is a good first step towards implementing pay equity.

However, Green Labour Spokesperson Sue Bradford said she hoped the taskforce would extend to cover issues that flowed from pay equity, including childcare and work/life balance.

"While the taskforce covers the public sector only, we hope it will also have flow-on effects for the private sector. We would also still like to see a Pay Equity Commission set up to work long-term towards implementing pay and employment equity in private and community sectors as well as the state sector," Ms Bradford said.

"Pay equity is not just about women's pay but also about people with disabilities, Maori and Pacific Island people, and refugees and migrants, who are also disadvantaged in the workforce."

Ms Bradford went on to say that women's work is very undervalued.

"Even where women's jobs require the same level of skill, training, education and experience, the pay rates are often lower. Nurses earn less than police. People who care for children often earn less than people who care for machines.

"We have learnt that the pay gap is not a simple matter of women being paid less. It is about how we value the work that mostly women do and about what skills we recognise as useful. Today there is still a lot of discrimination in the workforce, and a stereotyping of what work women should be doing and how valuable it is," Ms Bradford said.

"We are always hopeful changes in this area can be achieved without legislation - but that is unrealistic. We would like to see legislation clarified so that the definition of a good employer includes issues such as delivering equal pay for work of equal value.

"We would like to see unions including pay equity claims in their collective bargaining, and incorporating a requirement for pay equity bargaining in good faith bargaining," Ms Bradford said.

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