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Historic equal pay case tests our legislation

24 June 2013

Historic equal pay case tests our legislation

The case in the High Court this week highlights a fundamental misunderstanding about fairness of pay for men and women, the Green Party said today.

The case is arguing that the Equal Pay Act doesn't just apply to women being paid less than men in the same job but also allows women to challenge discriminatory pay rates in female dominated occupations.

Caregiver Kristine Bartlett is at the Employment Court arguing that she is being paid less than she would be had she been working in a male dominated industry.

“So few cases have ever been made under the Equal Pay Act that the Court hearing in Auckland this week has the capacity to set an important benchmark,” said Green Party human right’s spokesperson, Jan Logie.

“We know the main cause of the gender pay gap is the undervaluing of traditional women's work and this case tests whether our law is up to addressing this inequality.

“I hope Kristine wins this case, because she and all the other aged care workers are incredibly skilled workers playing an important role in our society who are being exploited at the moment. A win will be the first step towards taking their case to court.

“If the case fails we will need to look at changing the law to ensure women in this country can move towards economic equality. Ms Logie said.

ends

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