It was a moment to savour for all of us who have been campaigning for pay equity.
The passing of the Equal Pay Amendment Act in July will make it easier for workers to lodge pay equity claims.
The PSA has been a leading force in the fight to ensure we have legislation that will back up our work to achieve equal pay.
We thank all our members who came forward to tell their stories of the impact of pay inequity to the politicians, or have supported our campaign in other ways.
ADVANTAGES OF NEW LAW
Under the new law a claim can be raised directly with an employer rather than applying to the court.
It also brings employees and employers together to conduct assessments of comparative roles.
“If employers do the right thing it will be better and easier. It will enable claims to be dealt with on the ground,” says national secretary Kerry Davies.
The law also allows unions to raise claims on behalf of all workers not just members.
“It’s an historic victory for unions, enabling us to drive claims for all.”
The new law follows the model the PSA has already been using to successfully pursue equal pay claims.
“We’ve proved we could do it and this turns what we were always doing into law. That’s a win.”
CELEBRATING A MILESTONE
Our members are hailing the milestone for equal pay but acknowledge there’s more to do to.
DHB administration worker and Women’s Network co-convenor Nancy McShane says she knows of hospital administrators who will still be paying off their mortgages in their 80s.
“That’s because their female-dominated profession is undervalued and underpaid. Following the equal pay claim we lodged back in 2018, the health system has acknowledged the need for cultural change and is engaging with us to achieve that.”
Social worker and CPS national delegate Pania Tulia says she hopes the new law will encourage more women to ask employers for better pay.
“Too many of us, particularly Māori and Pasefika women, are just grateful to have a job and don’t yet feel we can speak out.”
Workplace Relations Minister Andrew Little says the passing of the bill, with the unanimous support of parliament, provides a clearer pathway for pay equity.
“This bill will encourage collaboration rather than relying on an adversarial court process.”
Minister for Women Julie Ann Genter says it represents one of the biggest gains for gender equity in the workplace since the Equal Pay Act in 1972.
“No one should be paid less just because they work in a female-dominated occupation.”
There is now a three month window from August 6 to ensure current claims meet certain criteria to continue under the new law.
PSA Pasefika union members have been voicing their support for the Pasefika community during the latest Covid outbreak.