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Australian companies to publish gender pay gaps as per new legislation: 'Women have been undervalued'

As per Minister for Women Katy Gallagher, this data will indicate how transparency has compelled companies to take action to close the gender pay gap abroad.

Australian companies to publish gender pay gaps as per new legislation: 'Women have been undervalued'
Cover Image Source: Male and female business colleagues working against the window in the office.(Getty Images / Maskot)

Businesses in Australia are being mandated to share their gender pay differences with the government in an attempt to tackle the problem of the gender pay gap. Thanks to the new legislation put to parliament by Minister for Women Katy Gallagher, this data will indicate how transparency has compelled companies to take action to close the gender pay gap abroad. "On average, women working full-time can expect to earn 14.1 percent less than men per week in their pay packets," Minister Gallagher said in a press statement, according to The Mandarin. “The gender pay gap is also holding our economy back with $51.8 billion a year lost when it comes to women’s pay.”



 

 

The minister noted that the new laws would rip off the red tape for businesses, making it easier to report remuneration data to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). The first set will be issued in 2024 and will include data provided by employers with WGEA to date. “Women have waited long enough for the pay gap to close — let’s not wait another quarter of a century,” Gallagher said. The annual information will be accessible on the government's website. Moreover, in earlier years, companies only provided remuneration data to WGEA. but individual employee remuneration was never considered. This meant that while current public data sets showed a breakdown of the gender pay gap, it was not at the individual levels.



 

 

As per Australian Unions, the gender pay gap still exists in Australia as of 2023. Projections show that it will take another 26 years to close the gender pay gap. "On average, women earn $263.90 less than men each week. " The new bill "is aiming to fast-track the progress, and the proposed changes will be a key stepping stone to achieving company transparency and accountability." "Women have been undervalued in their workplaces for far too long because individual companies have been trying to evade the problems and the scrutiny. Since women continue to earn much less than men, the decision to pass legislation for further transparency is crucial. Workers benefit from pay transparency because it enables them to detect pay discrimination. 



 

 

In another statement, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese remarked, "Women should be paid the same as men. It’s as simple as that. But right now, there’s not enough transparency around the gender pay gap in workplaces." He added, "That’s why we’re introducing a bill to fix that. It will mean companies with more than 100 staff need to report their pay gap publicly. And it will bring us a step closer to pay equity for women." As reported by Marie Claire, even though men work full-time more than women, who also have domestic obligations and child care to consider, there is still a notable gap between male and female full-time workers.

Agency director Mary Wooldridge supports these reforms, saying they are a significant step towards ensuring workplaces are fair and equal for all Australians. "These amendments will boost transparency and accountability and spur action to accelerate progress on gender equality in workplaces," she said, per the Financial Standard. Deanne Stewart, chief executive, and workplace gender equality agency pay equity ambassador, said closing the gender pay gap is a huge step, but there is still more to achieve. "Today's introduction of the Closing the Gender Pay Gap Bill is an important step in rectifying an issue that always seems to attract good intentions but is never fully resolved," she said.



 

 

Steward stated that to overcome financial gaps for women, the government "can pay the super guarantee on paid parental leave to increase the low-income super tax offset." She adds, "Paying the super guarantee on paid parental leave, the same way we do on wages is one of the ways we can reduce the impact on retirement savings from time taken out of the workforce to care for children. This is particularly important for women, who are still retiring with 30 percent fewer savings than men."

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