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Small Decrease in Gender Pay Gap shows Need for Legislation

22 August 2019

Small Decrease in Gender Pay Gap shows Need for Effective Legislation

The Pay Equity Coalition Auckland (PECA) is pleased the gender pay gap has decreased slightly. Statistics released today show the gap is now 11.9%, nearly 2 percent less than last year.

Ms Morris, spokesperson for the Coalition, said the smaller gap is good news and largely the result of union action by care and support workers, and nurses. This industrial action was buoyed by the successful Kristine Bartlett court cases which ruled that the Equal Pay Act did include equal pay for work of equal value.

The court victory for aged care worker Kristine Bartlett brought home to employers that the courts will uphold pay equity rights as provided in the Equal Pay Act 1972.

Ms Morris emphasised that 11.9% is still a significant gender pay gap and if you add ethnicity into the picture, it gets a lot worse. The gender pay gap for a Māori woman is 22.10%. For a Pasifika woman it’s 25.4%.

“Over someone’s entire working life this makes a huge difference. If Māori and Pacific women got paid the same as a man, they could live without the stress of constantly worrying about money. If they need to go to the doctor, they wouldn’t have to sacrifice breakfast to afford to do so,” Ms Morris explained.

“This small decrease in the gender gap shows us the importance of effective pay equity legislation. The Pay Equity Coalition Auckland is concerned that the Equal Pay Amendment Bill, currently before Parliament, has too many flaws to deliver pay equity for women.

The Bill needs many improvements including a claims system that works well and speedily, pay transparency, and accessible recourse to arbitration and the Courts when necessary.

- ends -

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