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Disappointment at lack of pay transparency mechanism in bill

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo is disappointed that a pay transparency mechanism has not been included in the Equal Pay Amendment Bill.

She was reacting to the final report by the Education and Workforce Select Committee on the bill, which did not include recommending a provision for pay transparency.

Saunoamaali’i said "pay transparency is an essential element of pay equity and should be in the legislation".

Pay transparency is allowing women employees information about what their male counterparts are being paid for the same or similar role.

Many submitters, including the Human Rights Commission, called for pay transparency to be included in the Bill.

Saunoamaali’i is now calling on the Government to consider stand-alone pay transparency legislation.

“An independent pay transparency agency needs to be established through separate legislation if the Equal Pay Amendment Bill and consequential amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 are not up to the task.”

"We have a duty under international and domestic human rights law to ensure equal pay for work of equal value. Women should not be left to bargain without the tools they need,” said Saunoamaali’i.

“The right to request pay information and require companies to report on pay gaps can provide women with the information they need to assess whether they have a viable pay equity claim to start with.”

“How else would a woman know in the first place if her skills and productivity were being undervalued in comparison to others?” said Saunoamaali’i.

The EEO Commissioner has welcomed the removal of the condition requiring women making a claim to undergo facilitation before seeking a determination in equal pay claims.

“I’m eager to see it work across workplaces and industries where Māori, Pacific, disabled and other women from minority groups are concentrated, as vulnerabilities may make them feel less able to challenge their bosses despite the legal provisions.”

“The changes will help ensure women have the right to timely and effective justice and take New Zealand a step closer to economic equality.”

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