On the way to Equal Pay


What a difference three months can make. Since the last issue of Working Life, we have a new government, new options for legislating on equal pay, and a renewed energy in closing the gender pay gap once and for all.

Working for Free Day

This year, Working for Free Day fell on 14 November – the day from which women will effectively work for nothing until the end of 2017.  Remember, that’s the average for all New Zealand: for Māori women it’s October 8, and for Pasefika women it’s 21 September.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The PSA Worth 100% campaign and the Women’s Network presented Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway with limited edition posters, thanking them for their Government’s strong commitment to equal pay.

PSA members around the country hosted equal pay themed morning teas – some cheekily asking the men to take a smaller piece of cake.

And just in case you want to get started early for next year - the CTU’s launched a countdown on the Treat Her Right website, looking ahead to Working for Free Day 2018. Find out more online.

Equal pay image(Above): Julie Anne Genter and Iain Lees-Galloway with PSA's Kerry Davies and Chantalle Smith

Commitments from the government

Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter told TVNZ’s Q&A programme that the gender pay gap in the public service could be closed “within four years”:

You make the chief executives of government agencies accountable, put it in their KPIs. We know that there are a whole lot of policies and steps and systems that can be taken to close the gender pay gap, and we just need to push those levers a little bit harder.

Then in Parliament, she spelled out the government’s plans:

We’ve started by halting the previous Government’s legislation that would’ve made it harder for women to find a clear pathway to equal pay.

We’ll be bringing fresh legislation into this House that will implement the agreed principles of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity. We will lead by example by closing the pay gap in the core public service, with a particular focus on Māori and Pasifika women, and we’ll be working with the private sector. We want to help other businesses catch up with that.

Negotiation updates

The Joint Working Group on the Oranga Tamariki social workers is progressing well. Male comparators have been chosen and are being analysed now.

Equal pay for library assistants is being considered by the union for implementation in several workplaces – watch this space.

The Working Group with the State Services Commission is making good progress too. This deals with pay equity in non female-dominated workplaces – looking at issues like starting salaries, performance pay, promotion and paid parental leave.

Discussions on mental health workers being included in the care and support settlement are continuing, and we’re keen for the new Government to confirm the commitments it made before the election. It’s not equal if it’s not for everyone.