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Motherhood Pay Penalty Not a Reality For All

Motherhood Pay Penalty Not a Reality For All

29 May 2018 – Organisers of New Zealand’s Equal Pay Awards have applauded the research paper by MOTU that found that New Zealand’s gender pay gap is larger among mothers than working women without children. However they want to acknowledge that there are progressive organisations who have addressed their own gender pay gap and hope that others will follow.

Acting CEO of YWCA Auckland, Kat Doughty says that the research is valuable as it highlights another driver of the gender pay gap in New Zealand. “We know that there is a gender pay gap in New Zealand of 9.4% and that the causes of this are various and complex. Having a robust data set that proves a 4.4% decrease in hourly wages on average is huge motivation for the Government and businesses to address the gender pay gap” she says.

The belief that carrot is more effective than stick led the YWCA to launch its Equal Pay Awards five years ago. Since its inaugural campaign in 2014, the YWCA Equal Pay Awards has gone from strength to strength, as it positions its winners as thought leaders, creating a platform to inform and inspire other employers about what equal pay success looks like.

Organisations like Lion, AECOM, ANZ, Simpson Grierson, SKYCITY, and even not-for-profits such as Youthtown, have all demonstrated their commitment to addressing equal pay, presenting themselves as employers of choice in a tight labour market. Flexible working policies, the ability to accrue annual leave and to be eligible for performance based-bonuses while on parental leave are just some of the initiatives that previous Equal Pay Awards finalists have shared with judges through entering the awards.

“There is a lot of social and commercial capital in being designated a desirable place for women to work and in actually being a good place to work. By entering the YWCA Equal Pay Awards, employers are signalling to women that they are a fair employer that values their entire workforce. By addressing their gender pay gaps, not only do companies benefit women they employ, but they give all staff a fair go, and generate more productive, inclusive working environments.

“We encourage employers to engage in the Awards programme. They may be pleasantly surprised and put themselves forward for entry or discover policies and practices that need to be implemented if they are to address an issue that is becoming harder and harder to ignore,” concludes Ms Doughty.

Entries for the YWCA Equal Pay Awards are now open, with a close date of Friday, 7th September 2018.

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For more information, images or interview opportunities, please contact:
Suzanne McNicol on or +64 21 466 907

The difference between Equal Pay and Pay Equity
A number of terms are used in discussing the gender pay gap. “Equal pay” refers to women and men being paid the same amount for doing the same work. Prior to the Equal Pay Act 1972, there were different pay rates for men and women. It was thought that the legislation would end that by providing for equal pay regardless of gender. However, women have continued to be paid, on average, less than men.

The term “pay equity” refers to the concept of redressing that income differential by comparing the rates paid to those in female-dominated occupations with those paid in comparable male-dominated jobs and raising women’s pay to match that of men. This could, for example, involve comparing nurses with probation officers, or education support workers with prison officers, or midwives with mechanical engineers.

A third term used is pay parity. In New Zealand, primary teachers in 1998 achieved pay parity within a unified pay system for primary teachers. This meant that primary teachers and principals with the same experience and qualifications were paid the same as secondary teachers and principals. Kindergarten teachers won pay parity with other teachers in 2002, and early childhood education teachers were granted pay parity in 2004.

In short; equal pay means women receive the same pay as men for doing the same work and pay equity refers to work of comparable value.

Notes to the

News Producer:
- New Zealand passed the Equal Pay Act in 1972 but, despite that, women have continued to be paid less than men in the 45 years since then.
- The gender pay gap in this country persists across different sectors of the economy and exists regardless of qualifications, skills and experience.
- New Zealand was ranked ninth in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap report for 2017 with a gender pay gap of 9.4 per cent, based on median hourly earnings.
- The annual YWCA Equal Pay Awards first launched in 2014.
- The Awards programme invites New Zealand businesses to prove how fair they are by applying for a YWCA Equal Pay Best Practice Compact, or by entering the full Awards
- Applications for the YWCA Equal Pay Best Practice Compact are now open and will close on Friday, 7th September 2018.
- An organisation may opt to apply for a Compact, if they do not feel ready to enter the full Awards, depending on how much progress it has made on its own equal pay journey.

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