Grave concerns about equal pay exposure draft

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Two days after the historic proposed settlement for care and support workers, draft equal pay legislation is a disappointment, the PSA says.

An exposure draft of the new Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill has been released today and PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk has expressed deep concern about it.

“It is very disappointing that just two days after the jubilant celebrations by care and support workers, the government has released proposals to slam the door on future claimants,” she says.

“If Kristine Bartlett were to lodge her equal pay claim against Terranova using this framework, she would not have achieved the great result they were celebrating.

“Mrs Bartlett would be stuck finding a comparator in the aged care sector – which is poorly paid across the board due to discrimination.

“This is expressly not what the Employment Court found in the Terranova case.

“Judge Ingalls was clear on the dangers of adopting an approach which might perpetuate discrimination, and yet this exposure draft appears to do exactly that.

“We urge the government to ensure women retain genuine access to equal pay.

“Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse must amend the bill so it properly reflects the Employment Court’s decision – and the recommendations agreed with the Joint Working Group.”

Ms Polaczuk also expressed disappointment that the legislation proposes to repeal the Equal Pay Act 1972.

“The Joint Working Group negotiated with the government in good faith, on the understanding that the existing Act would be retained.

“It is a significant piece of human rights legislation which has been in place for 45 years, and it should remain in force – because women should fully retain all rights to equal pay.”