Government to move on Equal Pay legislation

Wellington, November 1, 2017

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter have today reaffirmed the new Government’s commitment to halting the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill that was introduced by the previous Government.

All three Government parties were clear during the Bill’s first reading that we were opposed to the legislation, and that we would not rest until New Zealand workers have genuine opportunities for pay equity,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

While both sides of the House seemed united in lauding the TerraNova decision in favour of care and support workers and Kristine Bartlett, the previous Government immediately introduced legislation that fundamentally changed the ability of anyone else to achieve the same result.

Current sister not good

The current legislation diminishes the opportunity for people to make a pay equity claim, and we were clear that if we were elected then it would be the end of the line for this Bill. We were, and it is.

The Government will stop progress on the Employment (Equal Pay and Pay Equity) Bill and start work on new legislation that adheres to all the principles of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity,” Mr Lees-Galloway said.

National’ deliberate move

Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter said that National’s legislation was deliberately designed to put barriers in the way of women who wish to make a pay equity claim.

Women in New Zealand should know this Government is committed to women getting a better deal, that’s why we are halting the National Government’s legislation,” Ms Genter said.

The care and support workers settlement would not have gone ahead if National’s legislation had been in place. It put significant hurdles in the way of women trying to achieve pay equity. This is not acceptable in New Zealand in 2017.

Valuing women in workplace

This Government commits to valuing women in the workplace and valuing vocations that have traditionally been women’s work: the work that provides for others, cares for people who need care – the work that for too long has been mostly around minimum wage standards.

The existing Bill aimed to apply retrospectively, which would have been unfair to the up to eight groups of women currently making pay equity claims. We will do better by all women,” says Julie Anne Genter.

Dr Jackie Blue

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue said that the news that the Government will halt the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill has been welcomed today by the Human Rights Commission.

The following is her statement:

I am pleased that the new Government is going back to the drawing board to develop new legislation that remains true to the pay equity principles put forward by the joint working group.

In August, the Commission outlined concerns with the draft bill following its first reading, imploring the then Government to use the Select Committee process to address concerns that many stakeholders had raised.

Despite this feedback, the bill remained largely unchanged and would have presented huge challenges and barriers to those who would have depended upon it for their pay equity claims.

We are pleased that the new Government is focused on developing new legislation that reflects the pay equity principles and seeks to provide a fair outcome for those who have had an unfair deal for far too long.

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Photo Caption:

  1. Iain Lees-Galloway
  2. Julie Anne-Genter
  3. Dr Jackie Blue

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