Government reconvenes pay equity group, legislation due mid-2018

The previous bill was dumped in November.

The government will reconvene the pay equity working group and wants to pass legislation by the middle of the year to ensure women are paid fairly.

Workplace Relations Minister and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter said today the Traci Houpapa-led working group will meet tomorrow and make recommendations to ministers by the end of February. The government then expects to introduce pay equity legislation by mid-2018.

The previous government introduced a pay equity bill following legal action taken by the E Tu union on behalf of aged care worker Kristine Bartlett. The legislation was criticised as making any future pay equity deals harder to achieve. Among other things, it stipulated anyone attempting a pay equity claim would first have to look at their own profession and industry before making comparisons across industries. That bill was dumped by the new government in November.

"All three parties of the new government were opposed to the previous legislation, and said that we would not rest until New Zealand workers have genuine opportunities for pay equity," Lees-Galloway said in a statement. "By reconvening the joint working group, we can address these issues and propose new legislation to provide a fairer deal for women."

The group will focus on determining the merit of a claim as a pay equity claim, and how to select appropriate male comparators when assessing the work subject to a pay equity claim, the ministers said. It includes representatives from the government, unions, and employers.

"Our priority is making sure women working in women-dominated jobs get paid fairly," Genter said. "This government will do better by all women. A woman shouldn't be paid less just because she is a woman working in a female-dominated industry."

(BusinessDesk)

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