How does your workplace rank in gender equality?

by Victoria Bruce13 Apr 2016
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is calling for submissions from employers on employee gender, including people they hire, promote and those who resign.
Private sector employers with more than 100 employees are required to submit a report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency between 1 April and 31 May each year, relating to the preceding 12-month period, says Amber Sharp, Partner with Marque Lawyers.
“This year, some additional questions have been included relating to number of appointments, promotions and resignations by gender, as well as number of employees who didn’t return after parental leave,” Sharp says.

Sharp says employers will also be quizzed on whether the positions were managerial and whether they were part-time or full-time roles.
It is hoped the new data will shed light on the reasons for gender imbalances in the workforce.
The new data could also provide insights into what actions employers should take to improve the representation and participation of women in the workforce, Sharp says.
The report requires answering questions on six “gender equality indicators”:

1. Gender composition of the workforce
2. Gender composition of governing bodies
3. Equal remuneration between women and men
4. Availability and utility of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to flexible working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities
5. Consultation with employees on issues concerning gendering equality in the workplace
6. Sex-based harassment and discrimination

Sharp says businesses which fail to comply will be named and shamed.

“A list is published on the WGEA website, and WGEA may name non-compliant employers in a report to the Minister,” she says. 

“Further, non-compliance can render the employer ineligible under Commonwealth and state procurement conditions.”

While companies that employ fewer than 100 people are off the reporting hook, Sharp says regardless of reporting obligations, gender should never inform recruitment or remuneration decisions. 

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