On Wednesday, the government’s Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023 hit the Senate promising to deliver on Labor’s election commitment to close the gender pay gap.
Supported by the 2021 review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, the new reform will oblige organisations with 100 or more employees to publish their pay gaps in order to encourage more transparency.
The Minister for Women, Katy Gallagher, said transparency is known to encourage organisations to take action to close the gender pay gap in their workplace.
“On average, women working full time can expect to earn 14.1 per cent less than men per week in their pay packets,” Minister Gallagher said.
“The gender pay gap is also holding our economy back with $51.8 billion a year lost when it comes to women’s pay.”
Current projections suggest that 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.”
If adopted, the bill is expected to reduce red tape for businesses, making it easier to report.
According to Ms Gallagher, reporting will commence in 2024. Drawing on the data already provided by employers, gender pay gaps will be published on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency website.
Aware Super chief executive officer Deanne Stewart, who is also a pay equity ambassador at the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, applauded the bill, referring to it as an important step in “rectifying an issue which always seems to attract good intentions, but is never fully resolved”.
“We applaud the bill’s initial focus on transparency, with companies now required to publish their gender pay gaps, while acknowledging there’s still more to be done,” Ms Stewart said immediately following the announcement.
Aware Super already shares its data with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. The fund explained that the national 14.1 per cent gender pay gap is now the largest contributor to the retirement balance disparity between men and women.
“This is even more alarming considering every $1 a young woman contributes to her super today is worth $4 in retirement, amplified due to the compounding nature of super,” Ms Stewart added.
“It is critical that organisations tackle the gender pay gap head-on, because the future of our women’s retirement security is at stake.”