Dr Jackie Blue
Auckland, July 20, 2017
The Human Rights Commission welcomes the Government’s releasing of guidance for companies about how they can close the gender pay gap.
Dr Jackie Blue says she is pleased to see the positive action that Minister for Women and Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett is taking to address the gender pay gap, that remains at 12%.
I commend Minister Bennett for taking decisive action on what is an ongoing issue for women in the workplace. I’d also like to commend those businesses who are open, honest and transparent about their own gender pay gaps and what actions they are taking to address them.
The Commission advocated strongly for urgent and deliberate action to combat biases in the workplace following the release of data earlier this year that showed 80% of the gender pay gap is due to conscious and unconscious bias.
We are pleased to see that these guidelines encourage organisations to take responsibility for driving change; make plans and ensure their objectives are measurable; ensure they are aware of unconscious bias and are working to address it and maximise female talent.
We are also pleased to see that the need for normalising flexible work and parental leave for men and women are also included in the guidelines.
By regularly reviewing internal processes around recruitment and promotion, publishing and understanding their gender pay gap data, and providing more flexibility to their staff, employers will be in a much stronger position to eliminate the gap,” Dr Blue says.
I remain supportive of legislating for large companies to publicly disclose their pay gap data.
The Commission has been calling for greater pay transparency for some time and urging New Zealand to follow in the steps of countries like the UK, where from 2018, businesses with over 250 employees must disclose what they are paying in salaries and bonuses to their male and female staff.
We have already seen great leadership from the State Services Commission in publishing the gender pay gap data of public service departments. We are keen to see that private businesses be required to do the same.
Dr Jackie Blue is Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission.