8.2 Questionnaire sections

The Questionnaire is divided into sections. When all sections are marked as ‘done’ the questionnaire will have a status of ‘completed’.

Throughout the Questionnaire, you will be asked whether your organisation has formal policies and/or strategies on a range of topics related to workplace gender equality. If you indicate that your organisation has a particular policy/ strategy, you will often be asked to specifically indicate whether this is a policy, a strategy or both. So, it is important to understand the difference.

Important note: If your organisation has 500 or more employees, you must have a formal policy or strategy in particular areas. These requirements are stipulated under the Minimum Standards.

Workplace overview

This section focuses on organisation-wide measures that are in place to support gender equality and includes questions on your policies and strategies. You will be asked to indicate whether your organisation has a ‘policy’ and/or a ‘strategy’ in place that supports gender equality in each of eight key areas, as well as overall.

What is a policy and strategy?

  What it is What it includes What it is not

The guidelines, rules and procedures developed by an organisation to govern its actions (often in recurring situations).

  • They define the limits (do’s and don’ts) within which decisions must be made.
  • They are widely communicated and available and accessible to all staff.

Policies include applying gender equality principles and practices to:

  • recruitment
  • retention
  • performance management
  • promotions
  • identification of talent and high potentials
  • succession planning
  • training and development
  • resignations
  • key performance indicators (KPIs) for managers
  • remuneration.

An informal:

  • description of the way an organisation operates
  • undocumented process
set of best practices or tips for improvement.

A plan of action designed to achieve one or more of the organisation’s objectives. A strategy fills the gap between “where we are” and “where we want to be”, that is, “how are we going to get there?”

  • It relates to how an organisation allocates and uses materials and human resources and requires an executive approval.

Strategies generally include:

  • a vision or mission
  • values or principles
  • strategic objectives
  • specific actions
  • approaches, methods or enablers
  • risk and success factors
  • measures or milestones.
  • A business case
  • A SWOT analysis.
Formal policy or strategy

A written document approved by human resources or management. A strategy can exist without a policy and a policy without a strategy. But both can coexist and support each other.

It may be:

  • a standalone policy or strategy on gender equality
  • included in your broader diversity and inclusion strategy or policy.

An email to all staff explaining an intent or other informal communication.

Governing bodies

A governing body means the body, or group of members of the employer, with primary responsibility for the governance of the employer.

A governing body may be:

  • Board of directors
  • Trustees
  • Management committee
  • Council
  • Other governing authority.

It is important to note that governing bodies are not:

  • a diversity council or committee
  • a global diversity and inclusion team.

For Government Agencies/Departments this may be an Executive Management Board/Committee, the Accountable Authority or a Strategic Leadership Committee.

Specify the type of body, the gender of the Chair and other members, and the existence of a formal selection policy and/or strategy, and whether a target has been set for the representation of women.

Action on gender equality

This section focuses on the actions an employer has taken to address gender equality issues. It includes questions on the following topics:

Gender pay gaps

Asks an employer about the policies and strategies they have in place related to remuneration, and whether these include specific objectives related to gender pay equity.

Employer action on pay equity

Asks an employer about the actions taken in relation to gender pay equity, including whether a pay gap analysis has been conducted and actions taken as a result.

Employee consultation

Asks an employer if and how they have consulted employees about gender equality issues in the workplace.

Flexible work

This section focuses on the measures an employer has in place to support a gender equitable work-life balance. It includes questions on the flexible work arrangements an employer makes available, including any formal policies and strategies as well as specific flexible working options that are available.

Employer funded paid parental leave

Parental leave policies are designed to support and protect working parents around the time of childbirth or adoption of a child and when children are young. There are several questions in the questionnaire that asks for details of the existence of any employer-funded paid parental leave arrangements in your organisation.

  • The Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 sets out baseline parental leave entitlements for Commonwealth Employees.
  • Many public sector organisations have additional parental leave provisions set out in Enterprise Bargaining Agreements.

    Eligible employees can get parental leave pay from either or both:

    • the Australian Government under the Paid Parental Leave scheme
    • their employer.

    Please respond to the questions in this section based on the total provisions an employer offers, inclusive of the conditions set out in the Maternity Leave Act.  

    Type of parental leave offered

    This section asks for details on the eligibility, length and type of payment made of any employer-funded paid parental leave (PPL) arrangements.

    • The primary carer is the person who most meets the child's needs, including feeding, dressing, bathing and otherwise supervising the child in an age-appropriate manner. For a baby particularly, this role normally requires intensive physical involvement on an ongoing basis.
    • The role of secondary carer/supporting partner often falls to a father or partner in a couple. The secondary carer provides additional support but is not the main carer of the child.

    For example, you will be asked if you offer:

    • the same type of employer-funded paid parental leave to employees of all genders without using the primary/secondary carer or primary carer/supporting partner definitions (we refer to this as ‘equally shared’ parental leave), or
    • if employer-funded parental leave is offered using the primary/secondary carer or primary carer/supporting partner definitions.

    Check your enterprise agreement to see if there are different entitlements for a separate section for ‘Secondary Carers’ or ‘Supporting partners’, compared to ‘Primary Carers’ or staff entitled to leave under the Maternity Leave Act. If this is the case, the paid parental leave offered would not classify as ‘equally shared’. To answer the initial question of this section you will need to select one option:

    • If you offer an ‘equally shared’ parental leave scheme which offers the same type, length and conditions to employees of all genders, who require parental leave, with no distinction between primary and secondary carers/support partners, or
    • If you offer employer funded PPL for primary and/or secondary carers you will be asked a series of questions about your scheme - including eligibility for the scheme, the length of leave offered, and how it is paid, or

    That you do not offer employer funded PPL in any form, in this circumstance you should answer 'no' on this section at the first opportunity. You may provide a reason if you wish to do so.

    Details of paid parental leave scheme

    You will also be asked whether your employer-funded PPL:

    • is available to women, men or all eligible employees regardless of gender
    • covers birth, adoption, surrogacy, and/or stillbirth
    • pays the employee’s full salary, the gap between the salary and the government-funded scheme, or as a lump sum
    • includes superannuation contributions.

    You will also be asked to identify:

    • the minimum number of weeks of leave provided—if you provided different leave packages to different groups of employees, based on service time, industry or worksite, your answer would be based on the minimum number of weeks of leave available across all employee groups.

    For example, a Commonwealth public sector organisation may offer Maternity Leave Act eligible employees 12 weeks of paid leave under this Act, and then offer an additional 5 weeks of paid leave according to their enterprise agreement. This would mean the organisation offers a total of 17 weeks of employer-funded paid parental leave. 

    • the proportion of your total workforce with access to employer funded PPL scheme—this refers to all employees, including casuals.

    If, for example, all employees, including casuals, can access your paid parental leave for primary carers, you would enter '91–100%'. If only women or only men can access a particular type of parental leave, your answer should be the percentage of that group in comparison to your total number of employees.

    • the qualifying period, if any, for employer funded parental leave – this refers to a period of time that employees had to work for the organisation before they could access employer funded parental leave. If you provided different leave packages to different groups of employees, you should report what the requirement, if any, is for the majority of employees.
    • when employees can take employer funded PPL – this refers to a requirement that employees must take employer funded paid PPL within a certain amount of time after the birth, adoption, surrogacy and/or stillbirth of a child. If you provided different leave packages to different groups of employees, you should report what the requirement, if any, is for the majority of employees.

    There is a free text box at the bottom of this section that is populated into your reporting documents should you wish to provide further detail on your scheme.

    Employee support

    Asks how an employer supports employees with family or caring responsibilities, including through formal policies and strategies as well as other specific support mechanisms.

    Support for carers

    Asks how an employer supports employees with family or caring responsibilities, including through formal policies and strategies as well as other specific support mechanisms.

    Sexual harassment, harassment on the grounds of sex and discrimination

    Asks about the measures an employer has in place related to sexual harassment, harassment on the grounds of sex and discrimination, including formal policies/strategies, grievance processes, and training.

    Family or domestic violence

    Asks how an employer supports employees experiencing family or domestic violence, including through formal policies and strategies as well as other specific support mechanisms.

    Diversity and inclusion

    Gender inequality is not experienced in the same way by all women, men and non-binary people. Different dimensions of identity, including race, sexual orientation, disability, and age, can intersect and influence individual experiences and outcomes at work.

    This section focuses on diversity data and is wholly voluntary. An employer may choose whether they would like to provide answers for this section.

    • To close the section without answering, enter and click ‘Done’ at the bottom of the page without providing an answer

    The section covers the following topics:

    Diversity and inclusion policies/strategies

    Whether an employer has a formal policy and/or formal strategy on diversity and inclusion, as well as for its governing body

    Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander data

    Whether an employer collects data on employees who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. If so, an employer may choose to provide that data in aggregated form, with a breakdown only of male, female and non-binary employees

    Diversity data collection

    Whether an employer collects data on certain dimensions of the identities of its employees and members of its governing body. These dimensions are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander identity, cultural and/or language and/or race/ethnicity background, disability and/or accessibility, sexual orientation, and gender identity.