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Pay equity comments misleading

Pay equity comments misleading

“Minister Woodhouse’s comments on the Pay Equity bill (10.8.17) are misleading,” says the Coalition for Equal Value, Equal Pay. “We agree with the NZCTU, Labour, Green and NZ First that his new Bill will make it more difficult, not less, for women to make a claim. We prefer to keep the law we’ve got.”

Kristine Bartlett did not go through ‘an adversarial court process’ to get the 1 July pay increase for carers and support workers. The court case was a one-off judgment that ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ claims could indeed be made under the Equal Pay Act 1972. Bartlett’s claim was then settled by negotiation, not by the court. The State Services Commission, DHB employers and the unions looked at male jobs and pay rates not only in the Health sector, as the Minister says, but also in the male-dominated Corrections, Customs and Fisheries sectors.

Under the new bill, women would first have to present social, historical and labour market evidence to prove the merit of their claim to their own employer, before their claim could proceed to mediation and the objective job comparisons required by current law.

In both the new Bill and the current Act, arbitration is available as a last resort if employers won’t negotiate. That surely won’t be needed for the current state sector claims, as the government has already committed to paying women’s and men’s job equally.

The Coalition for Equal Value Equal Pay (CEVEP) is a voluntary organisation committed to reducing the gender pay gap in New Zealand through policy and initiatives to advance pay equity in general and equal pay for work of equal value in particular. CEVEP presented evidence to the Employment Court in the 2013 Bartlett vs Terranova case. See www.cevepnz.org.nz

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