The Public Service Association (PSA) has welcomed the Government’s commitment to enforce pay transparency as a step forward to close the gender pay gap.
National Secretary of the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Tikanga Mahi, Kerry Davies said mandatory reporting of gender pay gaps for large employers was “a cautious step in the right direction” towards closing the gender pay gap which has failed to budge much in the last decade.
“Women still earn 9% less than men on average,” said Ms Davies.
“Pay gap transparency is important because without it, discrimination is hidden, and this reduces awareness and pressure to address it. Gender and ethnic pay gaps have long-term impacts on quality of life and leave people at higher risk of poverty.
“So, we also need transparency by ethnicity. Pacific women carry a double burden and have the lowest pay rates in the country. We urge the Government to adopt mandatory ethnic pay gap reporting as well.”
The Government has committed to consulting with stakeholders on the plan to make large employers (above 250 employees) publish their gender pay gap, falling to those employing 100 or more workers within four years.
“We know pay transparency works because we’re doing it in the Public Service. Since 2018 the public service gender pay gap has dropped from 12.2% to 7.7%. This is because agencies have identified their pay gaps and we’ve worked together on action plans to eliminate those gaps,” said Ms Davies.
“Other countries we compare ourselves to, like the UK and Australia legislated to require pay transparency some years ago, and the evidence is clear – it makes a difference, it helps reduce pay discrimination.
“We urge National and ACT to support this move and commit today that if they form a government after 14 October, they will continue this process. They should listen to their supporters. A Talbot Mills survey in May showed 56% of National voters and 53% of ACT voters support pay transparency.
“Good employers are already doing this, and others should have nothing to fear – it’s simply the right thing to do, and in a tight labour market, it sends a very clear signal of the priority they place on ensuring everyone is treated equally.
“If politicians needed a reminder of the wisdom of doing this, the Retirement Commission said last month that the gender pay gap was a big reason why women on average have KiwiSaver balances 25% lower than men.
“However, we don’t think this goes far or fast enough as many women are employed by companies employing fewer than 100 workers. It should be all employers if we really want to make a lasting difference.
“Last year we celebrated 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed – today marks another, long overdue step to the promise of that Act, but ultimately, collective bargaining through strong unions is the best way to achieve sustained increases in pay rates for all,” she said.