Pay equity advocates in New Zealand are calling for urgent action after the country’s gender pay gap slipped back to 12 per cent for the first time since 2008.
The latest Labour Market income figures from Statistics NZ showed the pay gap had gone from an all-time low of 9.1 per cent in 2012 back up to 12 per cent in June this year. The last time the gap was 12 per cent or more was in 2008.
Minister for Women Louise Upston said the increase was disappointing after a downward trend in the gap over the past 17 years. Upston said employers need to act by assessing their own processes and ensuring there was no pay gap.
“Closing the gender pay gap requires making conscious, measured and reported efforts to tackle pay differences between men and women.”
However, the Public Service Association’s Assistant National Secretary Kerry Davies said the Government should step up.
“The Minister for Women says the equal pay issue needs conscious, measured and reported efforts. We agree, and we urge the government to walk the talk – by agreeing to fully implement the Joint Working Group’s recommendations. If government officials, employers and unions can agree on a workable way to deliver equal pay, then Cabinet should not drag its feet.”
That group of government, business and union representatives reported back to the Government on ways to achieve pay equity in May but it was yet to announce a response. Its recommendations include allowing employees to make pay equity claims where workers are paid less because the workforce was predominantly female