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National’s inaction on pay equity fuel to the fire

Carol BEAUMONT
Spokesperson for Women’s Affairs
4 August 2011

National’s inaction on pay equity fuel to the fire

National’s inaction on gender discrimination has again been highlighted with the gender pay gap now sitting at 13 per cent, says Labour’s spokesperson for Women’s Affairs Carol Beaumont.

Statistic New Zealand’s Quarterly Employment Survey for June shows a per hour pay gap of 13% compared to 12.6% last quarter, and an annual weekly income gap of 17.4% up from 17%.

“The government must urgently pick up the Human Rights Commission’s Pay Equality Bill,” Carol Beaumont said. “The issue of equality at work must be centre stage.”

“These statistics plainly illustrate the cost of this government’s inaction. It puts financial pressure on women and their families and over a lifetime makes it harder for women to save for their retirement.

“Labour is committed to progressing gender equality through legislation,” Carol Beaumont said.

“If the Government does not pick up the Pay Equality Bill I will pick it up as a Member’s Bill and enter it in the ballot,” Carol Beaumont said.

“Of course, it would be far better if the Government did it itself. That would guarantee the Bill going to a select committee for detailed scrutiny.

“The Pay Equality Bill provides a comprehensive response to the serious problem of pay inequality by including three components --– the right to equal pay, a positive duty to provide equal pay, and recognition that the equal pay is both a human rights and industrial issue.

“These statistics are yet more evidence that gender discrimination is alive and well in the workplace.

“The Government’s closing of the Pay and Employment Equity Unit and its failure to implement pay audits are just some examples of their determination to sideline this issue.

“Labour takes the issue of pay inequality very seriously and has a proud track record in supporting women’s rights at work. Labour has a comprehensive pay equity policy to take into the election. The Human Rights Commission’s Pay Equality Bill will make a welcome addition to that,” Carol Beaumont said.

ENDS


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