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Petition Presented At Parliament Calling For Government To Make An Effort To Address Our Shameful $18b Pay Gap

Over 8000 New Zealanders have signed a petition that will be presented at parliament today calling for the Government to make an effort to address ethnic and gender pay gaps.

The petition asks the Government to make big employers report their gender and ethnic pay gaps.

"International evidence shows that mandatory reporting can reduce gender pay gaps by between 20-40 percent. It’s worked overseas. When countries like the UK did this, wages for women went up. We estimate if similar rules were applied here, it could mean up to an extra $35 dollars a week in pay for women.”

The 8000 plus signature petition is being presented to Green Party spokesperson for Women, Jan Logie by MindTheGap campaign co-founders Dellwyn Stuart and Jo Cribb who’ve been calling on the government for over a year to make a public commitment to changing legislation before he 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay legislation on October 20.

As well as the almost 8000 signatures, the pair say they have the support of charities, and the 75 businesses that are reporting their pay gaps on the MindTheGap registry.

“We know that if the Government made pay gap reporting mandatory, more businesses would become aware of their pay gaps and start to address them, eventually make New Zealand a fairer place to work, ” says Dellwyn Stuart.

“These signatures, plus recent polling which showed three-quarters of respondents want larger employers to be required to measure and publish their pay gaps demonstrates how important this issue is to New Zealanders to make a change.”

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“New Zealand is embarrassingly behind other Western countries who have been working on closing the gap for years.”

New Zealand’s pay gap has not budged from around 9.2% in ten years but in the corporate sector it could be much higher. A Strategic Pay equity analysis out this week has found the overall gender pay gap is 16.7 per cent.

The analysis says that gender and ethnic pay gaps, when combined, result in a whopping penalty of $17.6 billion, or 11 per cent of wages and salaries and while there has been some movement in closing the gap in the public sector where reporting is mandatory there has been no movement in the private sector.

Co-founder Jo Cribb says it’s urgent the Government moves to introduce mandatory reporting.

“In these tough times, every dollar counts. We can’t afford to wait any longer. Pay Gap reporting is as simple as requiring them to publish each year the difference between what male and female employees earn and what the pay gaps are between different ethnicities.

“This simple law change can put more money into the pay packets of many who are discriminated against in the workplace simply because of gender or ethnicity. We need to see action on this issue now.”

MindTheGap is an alliance campaign backed by the Clare Foundation, a Wellington-based philanthropic foundation founded by investor and social entrepreneur Anna Stuck. In addition to her passion for social impact investment, Anna is also the Co-Founder of Even Capital, the only female-funded, founded and focused growth-stage venture capital fund in the country.

“The Equal Pay legislation came into effect the same year I was born, making today’s petition handover so meaningful as another step in the culmination of hard work, determination and persistence by so many people, for the past 50 years,” said Ms Stuck.

Clare Foundation CEO Alice Montague said the opportunity to support MindTheGap to ignite long-term change and tangible impact for future generations was the key motivator behind supporting the campaign.

“Closing the pay gap in this country, from both a gender and ethnic perspective, is critical for creating the fair and transparent workplace that we, and our children, deserve,” said Ms Montague. “The momentum of the MindTheGap campaign, and the groundswell it is receiving from the business sector, is testament to this kind of legislation being well overdue, and we are proud to be throwing our support behind this cause.”

On October 20, it will be 50 years since the law was passed in N Zealand, making it illegal for men to be paid more than women for the same work but Cribb and Stuart say this is the time to honour those who fought for the change in law by committing to ensure New Zealanders are finally paid fairly in New Zealand.

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