Incremental change to gender pay gap little comfort as cost of living bites


On Equal Pay Day this year, women will have worked an extra 56 days, on average, to earn the same as men. The current national gender pay gap is 13 per cent. While this is a significant drop in the national gender pay gap, representing the lowest it has ever been, it will come of little comfort to working women seeing more of their salaries eaten up by everyday essentials. 

Lines attributable to Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women

“Today marks the 56 extra days women need to work, on average, to earn the equivalent salary to men.

“There is now a national gender pay gap of 13 per cent. Queensland is above the average at 14.8 per cent; the second largest gender pay gap in the country.

“For those who are working part-time or casual roles, the gap is even higher at 22 per cent nationally.

“We have seen some moves to improve the Fair Work Act, including a new remuneration principle to help the Commission issue pay increases to workers in low-paid, female dominated industries, but a minimum wage increase below inflation put a dent in hopes for real improvements.

“The easiest way to close the gender pay gap is to pay women more. The government could legislate for above average wage increases over 10 years in women-dominated industries, which would provide a much-needed boost to women’s economic security and ensure we can attract and retain staff in these critical sectors. 

“The government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill was also passed last year, with new rules to end pay secrecy clauses that stop employees from discussing how much they get paid, something my 2015 Fair Work Amendment (Gender Pay Gap) Bill had previously sought to legislate for. 

“The Workplace Gender Equality Agency should also be given more powers to tackle gender inequality in the workplace, including preventing companies who are not working to reduce their pay gap from getting government contracts, and requiring organisations to report on the volume of sexual harassment complaints (including actions taken) and use non-disclosure agreements.

“We need gender pay gap reporting obligations to apply to more employers, a ban on ‘pay gag clauses’ in the private sector, and stronger sanctions against companies who fail to close their pay gap.

“We welcome the minor improvement in the gender pay gap, but women still have to work an extra 56 days to earn the same average salary as men, and the government is still charging ahead with Stage 3 tax cuts that will overwhelmingly benefit already wealthy men.”