In honour of International Women’s Day, which takes place every March, we are pleased to share with you the work being done to achieve gender equality in Australia.
The good news is that the gender pay gap is lower than ever; it currently sits at 13.3 per cent. As reported by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, recent figures show women’s average weekly ordinary full-time earnings across all industries and occupations are $1,653.60. Australian men’s average weekly ordinary full-time earnings are $1,907.10. It’s important to note these averages vary greatly by industry.
Several steps are being taken to change the fact that women earn an average of 87 cents for every dollar earned by a man in Australia. One is to update the Workplace Gender Equality Act.
Take a look at what this involves and how it may affect you as an employer:
The Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023 was introduced to Parliament in February. It reflects the Albanese Government’s commitment to closing the gender pay gap at work.
This is the result of a recent review that concluded the gender pay gap in Australia was not closing at a fast enough rate. The Review made ten recommendations to accelerate the rate of change on workplace gender inequality and reduce the reporting burden on businesses.
The bill amends the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 to:
For clarity, employers that are relevant to the Act include:
At present, if you meet the above criteria, you are required to report:
Updates to the Act will encourage transparency; in future the gender pay gaps of employers with 100 or more workers will be published on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency website. It’s hoped this will result in action to bring female pay packets in line with those of men in Australia.
If all goes ahead, this reporting will commence in 2024. The Review also recommended further review of the implementation and success of these measures five years after passage, ensuring robust, evidence-based evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of the legislative changes.
As shared in the bill’s explanatory memoranda, every measure in the Bill has been designed in close consultation with stakeholders across Australia, including the Agency itself, and representatives from the business and not-for-profit sectors, employee organisations, higher education providers, the women’s sector, users of the Agency’s datasets, Australian Government agencies and state and territory government agencies.
Minister for Women Katy Gallagher said in a press release that “The gender pay gap is also holding our economy back, with $51.8 billion a year lost when it comes to women’s pay. On current projections, it will take another 26 years to close the gender pay gap. Women have waited long enough for the pay gap to close – let’s not wait another quarter of a century.”
Closing the gender pay gap is a high priority for the current Australian government. If you have over 100 employees or meet the other relevant criteria, your business must prepare to report gender pay disparities and have the data published.
With this in mind, you may wish to review existing salaries and pay arrangements so you can prove your business is joining the fight for pay equality. Get in touch to have a discussion with our team so you can clarify what the gap looks like at your workplace and take steps to close it.
AFS & Associates are your partners in providing peace of mind. Get in touch if you would like some more advice about how your business can adapt and remain compliant with gender pay reporting obligations.