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PSA urges State Services Commission to act on report

Public Service Association urges State Services Commission to take action on report findings

The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) is urging the State Services Commission (SSC) to take action on a Human Rights Commission (HRC) report that identifies barriers to Equal Employment opportunities (EEO) across the public sector.

What’s working? Improving equal employment opportunities in the public service, from the HRC’s EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue, identifies EEO barriers and good practice across four target groups: women, Māori, Pacific peoples and people with disabilities.

Five government departments were identified as leading practice in one or more the groups. Findings showed that these departments were very focused on their community, ensured that staff represented their community, and aimed to deliver better public services.

“This report shows that genuine commitment to EEO principles brings in diversity across the organisations and leads to better outcomes for public service users,” says Richard Wagstaff, PSA national secretary.

"It’s great to see the Department of Corrections, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education, Te Pūni Kokiri, and the Education Review Office leading the way. However, it’s frustrating to see the rest of the public sector lagging behind,” says Richard Wagstaff.

The report is critical of the role of the SSC. Public sector agencies should have and report on EEO programmes as part of the good employer obligations in the State Sector Act but the report says that this is not often the case. The Government Service Equal Pay Act has been in place for over 50 years but the gender pay gap is higher than in the private sector.

“The PSA supports the report’s recommendation for the SSC and public service CEs to be made accountable for the achievement of EEO outcomes, and it should be extended to organisations providing services paid for with public funding. We think this should go further, with the SSC setting a target for CEs to eliminate pay gaps on the basis of personal characteristics in their agencies by 2020,” says Richard Wagstaff.

The PSA welcomes Dr Blue’s observation that the PSA has contributed positively to addressing gender pay inequity in best practice agency.

-Ends-

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