'Closing gender pay gap' key concern in new law
As a means to provide better economic opportunities for Australian workers, the Albanese Labor government delivered its “Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill,” which will be introduced into Parliament this month. According to the government, the legislation hopes to actualize the commitments made by the Labor Party during the 2022 election and at the Jobs and Skills Summit.
“Australian workers have been doing it tough,” Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Tony Burke said in a media release. “We want to give workers a better deal and a brighter future.”
Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill
Based on the government’s media release, the “Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill” is the first tranche of the government’s workplace relations reforms created to advance the nation’s workplace relations system and improve workers’ wages.
The government said that the bill seeks to become relevant to the needs of the modern workplace and help people who are struggling to make ends meet.
Addressing the gender pay gap
A vital concern of the bill would be closing the gender pay gap.
“We have made a deliberate decision to support workers in female-dominated professions who have been underpaid and undervalued for too long,” the government said.
More specifically, it said that the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill seeks to:
- Ban pay secrecy clauses so companies cannot prohibit staff from talking about their pay if they want to. This action will help improve transparency, reduce the risk of gender pay discrimination and empower women to ask their employers for pay raises, the government said.
- Make gender equity a central objective of the Fair Work Act, including the modern award system – putting the issue at the heart of pay decisions made by the Fair Work Commission.
- Establish two new Fair Work Commission expert panels, one on pay equity and one on the care and community sector. These new panels will give the Fair Work Commission the specific expertise it needs to deliver pay equity, the government said.
- Make it easier for the Fair Work Commission to order pay increases for workers in low-paid, female-dominated industries by enacting a statutory equal remuneration principle like that in Queensland. The new principle will also clarify that gender-based assumptions must not be considered when assessing work value.
“These measures add to legislation we have already introduced to establish 10 days of paid family, and domestic violence leave – so that women don’t have to choose between their safety and their pay,” Burke said.
The government also assured the public that it would announce further measures from the bill ahead of its introduction this month.