Call for Australian employers to take action on gender equality
Monday, August 29, marks the 60 extra days after the end of the financial year that Australian women must work, on average, to earn the same annual salary earned by men.
Equal Pay Day 2022 recognises that it has taken until August 29 to close the national gender pay gap, which is 14.1 per cent this year – a rise of 0.3 percentage points over the last six months.
To mark the day, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is calling on employers to take urgent action on gender equality by pursuing five steps to close the gender pay gap:
- Conduct a pay gap audit, develop an action plan and establish accountabilities,
- Set targets to promote gender equality at all levels of the organisation,
- Design leadership roles that can be part-time and promote women into leadership positions,
- Normalise flexible working arrangements, and;
- Introduce a robust gender neutral paid parental leave policy.
WGEA Director Mary Wooldridge said employers who had already embraced these practices and incorporated gender equality as a core part of their business strategy were reporting benefits to employee recruitment and retention, productivity and company profits.
“On Equal Pay Day 2022, WGEA is encouraging employers to make gender equality a priority by implementing five achievable, key steps that will speed up the rate of change,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“While the gender pay gap persists, women’s skills, capabilities and potential are not being fully realised or valued.
“Further, while women are earning less, they're spending the same as men on the essentials we all need to survive.
“A high inflation rate of 6.1 per cent is greatly increasing the cost of living, making daily essentials like fruit and vegetables, fuel, electricity and rent more and more expensive. The gender pay gap means many women now find it even harder to make ends meet."
These actions will be increasingly important for organisations with the Federal Government's commitment that WGEA will publish employer-level gender pay gaps in the near future.
“Taking action on gender equality today is not just the right thing to do,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“It’s also a sensible business decision to make sure your organisation is prepared for gender pay gap transparency, to be able to articulate what analysis has been done and the steps being taken to close it.
“We encourage all employers to take gender equality seriously, incorporate it into their business strategy and to take action to address it. This will be good for business and good for all Australians.”
Read more at www.wgea.gov.au
Media contact: Emma Manser, WGEA Media & Communications Manager
Background information on the national gender pay gap
- The national gender pay gap is 14.1 per cent. This is a 0.3pp rise from the previous gender pay gap six months ago
- On average, women working full-time earned $1,609.00 per week while men working full-time earned $1,872.90 per week
- The full-time average weekly earnings difference between women and men is $263.90 per week
About the national gender pay gap
The national gender pay gap measures the difference between the average weekly full-time base salary earnings of women and men, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is a measure of women’s overall position in the paid workforce and does not compare like roles.
What is the difference between the gender pay gap and equal pay?
Equal pay is the concept of women and men being paid the same for performing the same role or different work of equal or comparable value. In Australia, this has been a legal requirement since 1969.
The gender pay gap is different to equal pay.
It measures the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce. It is not the difference between two people being paid differently for the same or similar job, which is unlawful. When we talk about the gender pay gap, we are talking about the difference between what men and women get paid, on average, across organisations, industries, and the workforce as a whole.
What is the aim of Equal Pay Day?
Equal Pay Day marks the additional days from the end of the previous financial year that women, on average, must work to earn the same as men earnt that year. It is a symbolic day that helps to raise awareness of the barriers women face in accessing the same financial rewards for their work as men.
Equal Pay Day is calculated by deriving the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time earnings as a percentage of women's earnings and multiplying this figure by 365 days. This tells us the additional number of days that women must work each financial year to earn the same as men. This differs from the gender pay gap calculation, which is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.
In essence, the Equal Pay Day calculations tell us how much less women earn than men, while the gender pay gap calculation tells us how much more men earn than women.
When will organisational level Gender Pay Gaps be made public?
Recommendation 2 of the WGEA Review Report published in March 2022, recommended that the Workplace Gender Equality Act (Cth) 2012 be amended to allow WGEA to publish gender pay gap information at an employer level as an overall figure and by quartile, to encourage change within organisations.
Further stakeholder consultation is currently underway about effective implementation of this recommendation.
About the Agency: The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is an Australian Government statutory agency charged with promoting and improving gender equality in Australian workplaces.
More at www.wgea.gov.au