16 December 2004
Pay Equity Unit Will Help Close Earnings Gap
Unions welcome the establishment of the Pay and Employment Equity Unit which is set to tackle the pay gap between men and women, Council of Trade Unions vice-president Helen Kelly said today.
The Department of Labour has today launched the unit which was established in response to recommendations from the Pay and Employment Equity Taskforce. Unions were involved in the taskforce, which focussed on the public sector.
Women earned on average 13 per cent less than men, Helen Kelly said.
“The pay gap persists because of problems such as occupational segregation, undervaluing of work primarily done by women and discrimination,” she said. “Employers can expect to feel pressure to pay fairly if they want to attract and retain women workers.”
Unions would also continue to press for legal remedies where employers refused to deal with an issue contributing to the gender pay gap.
"We want the right to equal pay for work of equal value to be enforceable, as required under international conventions which New Zealand has ratified."