Equal Pay Day 2015: ‘Most organisations have a gap’

As this year’s Equal Pay Day Approaches, Diversity Council Australia outlines how employers can address Australia’s ‘depressing’ situation.

Equal Pay Day 2015: ‘Most organisations have a gap’
tember 4 is national Equal Pay Day, and although recent numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed a slight improvement in the gender pay gap, Diversity Council Australia (DCA) says more needs to be done to close it.

“The current gender pay gap means women are earning just over 82 cents for every dollar their male colleagues earn, down from an average of 85 cents, eleven years ago,” said Lisa Annese, CEO of the DCA.

“It’s pretty depressing that we still find ourselves in this position in 2015.”

“Pay inequity has many causes but we know discrimination and occupational and industry segregation are major contributors,” she continued, adding that the impact of having and raising children on women’s wages is also an issue.

Westpac’s 2015 Women and Retirement Readiness Report found that there was a gap of $145,000 between the median superannuation account balance of women and men.

“According to Westpac’s analysis, the average 60-year-old Australian woman would need to work an extra 15 years to retire with the same superannuation balance as men,” Annese said.

She added that Equal Pay Day is the perfect opportunity for employers to actively address the pay gap.

“It’s really important that employers – if they want to be best practice employers – recognise that the principality of equity is equal pay for work of equal value,” Annese told HC.

“It’s important for engaging and maintaining productive employees, because having equal pay in place gives them a sense that they are equally valued by their company.”

She advised employers looking to take advantage of Equal Pay Day to take steps to try and ensure that they pay fair and equitably, and prove that they are doing so by conducting a pay equity audit.

According to Annese, the most important thing for employers to do is to understand and acknowledge the presence of a pay gap – because “most organisations have some kind of gap”.

“It’s an important day to communicate that your company is taking steps towards equity,” she said.  “Perhaps encourage leaders to make statements about pay equity and take steps to understand what that means to the organisation – this says to employees that they are all valued, regardless of whether they are male or female.”

DCA had the following tips for employers wanting to address the gender pay gap:
  • Conduct a pay equity audit, investigating the causes of any identified gaps and what can be done to correct them
  • Review wage setting and pay scales to ensure part-time workers are not disadvantaged compared to their full-time counterparts
  • Provide salary transparency where possible
  • Eliminating discrimination in all its forms
  • Implement performance evaluation and development criteria that are gender-neutral and do not disadvantage employees working flexibly
  • Design jobs, workflows and careers that can offer flexible working arrangements to both women and men
  • Support pregnant women and mothers to return to work as valued members of the workforce with the same opportunities as their colleagues
This year's Equal Pay Day falls on this Friday, September 4, to represent the extra 65 days that women, on average, would be required to work from the start of the financial year to earn the same as men.

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