Wellington, April 20, 2017
We have today released an exposure draft of the Pay Equity Bill for public consultation.
The government is committed to achieving pay equity in New Zealand and providing a practical and fair process for employees to follow if they feel they are not being paid what their job is worth due to gender discrimination.
The release of the draft Pay Equity Bill for consultation is an important step towards achieving that and is vital to closing the gender pay gap and ensuring female dominated industries are paid fairly.
This week, the government announced a $2 billion pay equity settlement for some of the health sector’s lowest paid workers following the TerraNova pay equity claim.
The settlement recognises the important work carried out by our aged and disability residential care services and complements the work being done by the government to implement the Joint Working Group’s recommendations on Pay Equity.
Need for clarity
Today’s release of the draft Pay Equity Bill for public consultation is a key step towards implementing those recommendations and aims to ensure that the wording in the legislation is clear and workable for employers and employees.
Currently, the Equal Pay Act is not equipped to provide guidance on pay equity claims and needs to be updated to provide for a practical and fair process for employees to follow if they feel they are not being paid what their job is worth due to gender discrimination.’
Choosing comparable jobs
The draft Bill also provides principles for, and gives guidance on, how to choose comparable jobs and roles to judge Pay Equity claims.
I want to thank the Council of Trade Unions and Business NZ for providing early feedback on the draft Bill. I look forward to their continued contributions during the exposure draft process to ensure key clauses reflect our goal to provide guidance.
I encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation process and make sure they have their say on this very important piece of legislation.
Consultation closes on Thursday May 11, 2017 and legislation is planned to be introduced soon after.
For more about the consultation process visit www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/employment-skills/legislation-reviews/exposure-draft-employment-pay-equity-and-equal-pay-bill.
Michael Woodhouse is Workplace Relations and Safety Minister of New Zealand