Monday, May 27, 2024

Record low pay gap on 50th anniversary of Equal Pay Act

Today marks 50 years since the Equal Pay Act 1972 was passed, a law instrumental in ensuring the legal right to equal pay for equal work in Aotearoa New Zealand, said Minister for Women, Jan Tinetti.

Minister Tinetti said the Public Service 2022 Workforce data released today showed a unified approach across the Public Service and unions has delivered a record low gender pay gap of 7.7%. 

“We are committed to closing the gender and ethnic pay gap. Our progress to reduce the pay gaps in the public sector gives me confidence that the range of measures we are taking can continue to close the gap for all New Zealanders,” said Ms Tinetti.

“Lifting the wages for all New Zealanders gives more money to families and provides greater economic security. While there is still much to do, we should all be proud of the progress New Zealanders have made.  

“To us, being paid fairly is a fundamental human right. Everyone should be paid fairly and have the same opportunities to achieve their career aspirations.

“While the global fight for equality in the workforce is ongoing, the Equal Pay Act continues to move us towards achieving equal pay and pay equity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“The number of women in leadership continues to trend upwards with women now holding 55.8 percent of senior leadership positions,” she said.

In the public service the Māori pay gap has fallen to 6.5% from 8.3% and is now the lowest it has been. The Pacific pay gap has fallen from 17.9% to 17.7%. The Asian pay gap is 12.4%. With the gender pay gap now at a record low, the Public Service is continuing to step up efforts to close ethnic pay gaps, the Minister said.

Associate Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, along with Minister Tinetti today announced the Government’s next steps in relation to a pay transparency system.

“I am pleased that the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) will become our national advisory group on pay transparency in Aotearoa New Zealand,” Ms Radhakrishnan said.

“The Council’s role will be expanded to consider both gender and ethnicity in relation to pay transparency, and will provide advice on what a pay transparency system that is fit-for-purpose for New Zealand could look like.

“It’s important we assess pay transparency tools that will support businesses to identify their gender and ethnic pay gaps, and what measures we can take to reduce them.

“We know there is no silver bullet to solving pay gaps, and that a range of measures are needed. We are committed to exploring creative ways to reduce pay gaps and a pay transparency system could be an important tool,” she said.

Minister Tinetti said the Government was committed to reducing the gender pay gap, and has agreed to investigate whether a pay transparency system would be beneficial for New Zealand which was one of the recommendations from the select committee which looked into pay transparency.

Kia Toipoto – the Public Service Pay Gaps Action Plan 2021-24 aims to eliminate all gender and ethnic pay gaps and increase diversity in leadership, she said.

“We are delighted that the Council will take up this role to improve pay transparency for Aotearoa New Zealand.”

“Pay equity settlements are a powerful vehicle for closing gender and ethnic pay gaps, particularly for vulnerable workforces.

“There have been seven New Zealand pay equity settlements so far and I expect to see another claim conclude in the next few weeks. These settlements removed gender discrimination from pay for more than 104,000 people. The average pay correction to date has been 33%. Currently, there are 27 pay equity claims in progress covering over 200,000 New Zealanders working across the economy.

“I want to acknowledge everyone who is working to eliminate all gender and ethnic pay gaps and achieve equal pay for equal work here in Aotearoa, New Zealand particularly in areas such as pay equity, women in leadership roles, education, career and training opportunities, and women’s safety,” Minister Tinetti said.

To view Kia Toipoto, the Public Service Pay Gaps Action Plan 2021-24, visit

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