Average gender pay imbalance increasing, pay equity settlements need speeding up
Council of Trade Unions Acting President Rachel Mackintosh said that updated figures out today from Statistics New Zealand show that women are still not being paid their worth and employers are not complying with current equal pay law. The latest average hourly gender pay imbalance is 13.9%, up from 13.1% in 2017. The median hourly gender pay imbalance is nearly static, at 9.2% down from 9.4%.
"Women’s pay will start moving in the right direction as pay equity settlements and minimum wage rises flow through this year. We have seen the beginning of pay increases for 55,000 people in aged care and support, but the impact of other settlements will come through in the next round of figures," Ms Mackintosh said. "Mental health and education support workers have just recently settled claims and indeed female-dominated collective agreements like the New Zealand Nurses Organisation deal will raise women’s wages. All of these union pay wins are great news for women."
"What these latest figures show is that inaction by the last Government on women’s equality will take a big effort from this Government to fix, but we are optimistic about change happening this year. New Zealand has a clear path to be a world leader on equal pay, and the coalition Government has committed to women being paid fully and fairly in this country."
"However, we can also see from these figures that most employers won’t voluntarily choose to comply with our current equal pay laws. We need to speed up the pace of equal pay and pay equity settlements and claims to achieve full equality. Social workers, teachers, nurses and midwives and admin and clerical staff are just some of the groups who have pay equity processes underway to recognise their full worth."
"The introduction of new equal pay legislation to formalise a process for payment of claims can’t come fast enough for the women of New Zealand. We have already been denied access to our legal right to pay equality for an entire generation. The Government has indicated we can expect better laws that set out a clear pathways to accessing equal pay by the end of this year. We are backing MPs to work through the legislative process as soon as possible and value New Zealand women equally with Kiwi men."
 This is the percentage difference between men and women wage and salary earners in the average amount earned per hour of work in New Zealand in June 2018. The Government tends to use a figure of median earnings per hour of work, but this underestimates the true gender pay imbalance because the majority of very high income earners are men, while nearly two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women.
The Wellington Pay Equity Coalition will be calculating and releasing the gender pay imbalance for Māori, Pākehā and Pasifika women later today.