A Pay Equity Unit has been established to provide information in matters relating to pay equity under the Fair Work Act 2009. The unit commenced Monday, 1 July, 2013.
“The gender pay gap, calculated on average full-time weekly ordinary time earnings is currently 17.6%, and has remained fairly consistent for more than two decades,” Helen Conway, director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WFEA), said in a statement.
Conway stated that a number of factors contribute to the lingering pay gap, including industrial and occupational segregation. “So, for example, the ‘caring skills’ needed in female-dominated sectors like health care and teaching have historically not been rewarded as favourably as technical skills needed in more male-dominated industries.”
The unit comes as a response from Fair Work Australia recently finding that work done in the “female dominated” social and community sector was undervalued, largely because of gender.
“It is my hope that the work undertaken by the Pay Equity Unit will facilitate improvement in the disparity between women’s and men’s earnings,” Conway added.
She encourages employers to analyse their payrolls to identify if there are gender pay gaps, and then take the steps to eliminate them.
The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 stipulates that, from next year, all non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees must report to the WFEA, and must also provide remuneration data separated by gender and workplace profile.
They must also provide information as to whether or not they have a remuneration policy or strategy in place, and if it includes objectives to eliminate pay equity discrepancies.
The WGEA offer free resources to help employers identify pay gaps.