Under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, employers must comply with the notification and access requirements. These relate to how the public data from your report is shared.
How do you comply?
To comply, an employer must do the following, within the timeframes outlined in the table below:
- Inform its employees and members or shareholders that it has lodged its report with the Agency and advise how the public data may be accessed
- Provide access to the public data to employees and members or shareholders
- Inform employee organisations with members in its workplace that the report has been lodged
- Inform its employees and those employee organisations with members in its workplace of the opportunity to comment on the report to the employer or the Agency.
'As soon as reasonably practicable' means that you complete the requirements listed above at the first available opportunity.
What data do you share?
Notification and access requirements relate to how you share the public data from your report.
Your public data includes all non-confidential data provided in each component of your report.
This data is reported in the following documents, available in the 'Data and Insights' tab of the Portal:
- Questionnaire – public report
- Workforce Management Statistics – public report
- Workplace Profile – public report
Combined, these constitute your ‘public data’ or the 'public report'.
When do you inform employees and members or shareholders?
As soon as reasonably practicable after submitting a Gender Equality Report, an employer must inform employees and any members or shareholders that the report has been lodged with the Agency and how the public data may be accessed
Notification to employees could occur through an organisation’s normal means of communication with employees, including employee newsletters, workplace meetings and any other appropriate existing consultative means. The method used must ensure that the information concerning the organisation’s Gender Equality Report was transmitted widely to all employees.
In the case of shareholders of a public company, given there may be more limited opportunities to communicate with them, notification could occur, for example, in the next available annual report and on the employer’s website.
Providing access to the report to employees and members or shareholders
As soon as reasonably practicable after lodging a report, an employer must provide its employees and members or shareholders with access to its public data (excluding personal information, details on remuneration and other information that may be specified by the Minister).
This requirement could be fulfilled by ensuring employees are clearly provided with the details of where they could access the public data. For example, notifying employees they can access it via:
- a link to your website where a copy of the public data reports could be viewed or downloaded
- a file hosted on your internal intranet
- an attachment sent via email
- being informed of where hard copies of the public data reports are located.
Section 5 of the Questionnaire asks you to report the date that you shared the public data from the previous reporting year with your employees and shareholders. If you cannot recall the exact date, you can provide the month and year and use ‘01’ for the day.
Notification to employee organisations
Within seven days after lodging a report, relevant employers must take all reasonable steps to inform each employee organisation that has members in its workforce that its report has been lodged with the Agency.
This requirement does not mean an intensive effort is required by employers to identify all possible employee organisations. Rather, employers must notify employee organisations they could reasonably be expected to know about. This would include an employee organisation that was a party to an Enterprise Agreement or an employee organisation to which membership fees are paid by payroll deductions.
Informing of the opportunity to comment on a report
When informing employees or employee organisations that have members in the workplace that a report has been lodged, a relevant employer must advise them that comments on the report may be given to the relevant employer or to the Agency.
There is no time restriction on when comments on the report submission can be provided. However, comments provided to the relevant employer or the Agency, during the 28 days after a report has been submitted, will allow for those comments to be taken into account by the employer in providing additional information to the Agency, and by the Agency in requesting additional information to assist in assessing compliance with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
To assist employers, we have provided the following templates employers may use to comply with the new requirements. Please note this has been provided for guidance only and does not prevent an employer from using other wording, provided that the notification and access requirements of the Act are satisfied.
In accordance with the requirements of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Act), I am writing to inform you that, on [insert date], [insert name of employer] lodged its annual public report with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (Agency).
[Insert how you are providing access to the public data, e.g.: “To access a copy of the public data reports, please click on the link attached to this email” or “A copy of this report is available on our intranet” or “A copy of this public data is attached to this email.”]
As employees of this organisation you may make comments on the report to us by [insert how to comment to the employer] or to the Agency.
For employee organisations with members in the employer's workplace
As an employee organisation with members in this workplace, the Act provides for your organisation to comment on the report either to us by [insert method for commenting to the employer] or to the Agency. Please refer to the Agency’s guidelines on this process on their website.