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Taking the lead on pay and employment equity

19 September 2006

Taking the lead on pay and employment equity

Government agencies will continue to take the lead on delivering pay and employment equity for their employees, says Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson.

"On Women's Suffrage Day it is appropriate to consider the role of women in New Zealand society and look at our progress on pay and employment equity," says Ruth Dyson.

"The Labour-led government has made good progress on delivering equity in the public service, public health and public education sectors, through phase one of a five-year Plan of Action on Pay and Employment Equity and the development of a gender neutral job evaluation tool.

Ms Dyson has also announced that crown entities will be able to voluntarily initiate pay and employment equity reviews following the next report to Cabinet in December.

“The gender pay gap is still a real issue for women working in New Zealand. In 2005, the average hourly earning for women was just 86.4% of that for men.
Government’s goal is for the gender pay gap in New Zealand’s public service, health and education sectors to have significantly closed by 2008.

“By taking the lead in these sectors, we can learn what is needed to bring about sustained change in the employment equity issues that account for the large part of the gender pay gap, and the pay gap related to undervalued female dominated occupations.

"When the pay and employment equity gap is closed in New Zealand, we will be able to celebrate our nation's leadership in this area in the same way as we celebrate our achievement of giving women the right to vote."


The Labour-led government has made a commitment to a five-year Plan of Action on Pay and Employment Equity to ensure that remuneration, job choice and job opportunities in the public service, public health and public education sectors are not affected by gender.

A tripartite pay and employment equity steering group is leading and evaluating progress on the plan, together with the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit.

The Unit has developed a pay and employment equity review process and a gender-neutral job evaluation tool to assist organisations to investigate their practices and determine actions to remove inequities. These will help organisations in developing a comprehensive and creative approach to finding out why gaps in pay and employment equity exist, and look for solutions that work for both employers and employees.

A $1 million annual allocation is available to public service, public education and public health employers and unions through the Pay and Employment Equity Contestable Fund to undertake specific projects to support pay and employment equity education and training in their organisation.

Nine organisations were allocated a total of $844,731 in the 2005/2006 round of the Pay and Employment Equity Contestable Fund. They were:

- Ministry of Education (internal and education sector reviews)
- Education Review Office
- Child, Youth and Family
- NZ Council of Trade Unions
- Joint PSA/Department of Labour
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Ministry of Women’s Affairs
- State Services Commission.


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