Women pay equity transparency bill unsuccessful

A private member's bill that was designed to provide greater transparency of the gender pay gap in the interests of providing greater evidence to fight pay discrimination in New Zealand has been unsuccessful in Parliament.   In a motion that the Equal Pay Amendment Bill be read a first time, 59 votes were in favour (New Zealand Labour 31; Green Party 14; New Zealand First 12; Māori Party 2) and 60 votes were against (New Zealand National 58; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1).

The bill would have required employers to tick a box on existing pay records to state whether the employee is male or female.

It would also have entitled employees or their representative access to the aggregated data of pay and gender for employees in their workplace doing the same kind of work.

The information could have been given to an independent reviewer if the employer believed it would compromise confidentiality.

 

Green MP Jan Logie, said the Equal Pay Amendment Bill had been supported by a large number of women and women's organisations.

She said "It is time for women to get economic equality and that is going to take action."  Logie went on to say that it was unlawful in New Zealand to discriminate on the basis of gender "and yet 45 years on from the Equal Pay Act women's average hourly earnings are still 13.6 per cent less than men's and that is 22.9 per cent for Maori women and 28.4 per cent for Pasifika women."

National, Act and United Future opposed it on the grounds that it would add greater compliance to businesses and that it could compromise privacy. Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party supported it.

Logie said Norway, Sweden and Finland had similar provisions in their laws for income transparency and were in the top four countries in terms of income equality.