Pay eq­uity bill mak­ing his­tory for women

Manawatu Guardian - - SERVICES DIRECTORY - By IAIN LEES-GAL­LOWAY Palmer­ston North MP (Labour)

Re­cently New Zealand cel­e­brated one of our most out­stand­ing achieve­ments — the 125th an­niver­sary of when we made world his­tory with women’s suf­frage. Our Gov­ern­ment added a lit­tle his­tory of its own on that day, in­tro­duc­ing leg­is­la­tion that makes it eas­ier for work­ers to make a pay eq­uity claim.

The Gov­ern­ment is tak­ing the next step to ad­dress his­toric in­equities in pay for women, with the in­tro­duc­tion of the Equal Pay Amend­ment Bill. We’re do­ing this be­cause it’s time that women and men, who per­form work of the same value, are paid the same.

There’s no spe­cial treat­ment here, just a de­sire for equal treat­ment; a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, fair to all New Zealan­ders re­gard­less of gen­der. The bill es­tab­lishes a just and prac­ti­cal frame­work to ad­dress pay dis­crim­i­na­tion in fe­male­dom­i­nated oc­cu­pa­tions. This is an im­por­tant step in im­prov­ing fair­ness in the work­place for women. Dis­crim­i­na­tion has led to lower pay for many fe­male-dom­i­nated in­dus­tries, de­spite hav­ing sim­i­lar work­ing con­di­tions and skill re­quire­ments to com­pa­ra­ble male-dom­i­nated oc­cu­pa­tions.

It’s es­sen­tial that the pay eq­uity frame­work is ac­ces­si­ble to work­ers, fa­mil­iar to busi­nesses and easy to man­age for both, and we’re ac­tu­ally pro­vid­ing cer­tainty and lim­i­ta­tions around po­ten­tial back-pay claims where now there cur­rently is none.

Our com­mit­ment to the prin­ci­ples of equal pay was un­der­lined by our very first ac­tions as a new Gov­ern­ment — we acted swiftly to re­move the pre­vi­ous Gov­ern­ment’s

‘The

Gov­ern­ment is tak­ing the next step to ad­dress his­toric in­equities in pay for women, with the in­tro­duc­tion of the Equal Pay Amend­ment Bill. We’re do­ing this be­cause it’s time that women and men, who per­form work of the same value, are paid the

’ same.

leg­is­la­tion that would’ve set hur­dles far too high for lodg­ing pay eq­uity claims.

There’s an un­kind irony that the pre­vi­ous Gov­ern­ment cel­e­brated the pay eq­uity set­tle­ment for care and sup­port work­ers — hard fought and even­tu­ally won by Kris­tine Bartlett — then promptly in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion that made it im­pos­si­ble for peo­ple to achieve the same out­comes as Kris­tine.

Our Gov­ern­ment re­moved those hur­dles be­cause it was the right thing to do. We have so much to be proud of in New Zealand, and high among them is our sense of jus­tice and fair­ness. That’s why this Gov­ern­ment made his­tory for Kiwi women work­ers.

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