Notification and access requirements

Under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, employers must comply with the new notification and access requirements. These require each relevant employer to:

  1. Inform its employees and members or shareholders  that it has lodged its report with the Agency and advise how the report may be accessed
  2. Provide access to the report to employees and members or shareholders
  3. Inform employee organisations with members in its workplace that the report has been lodged
  4. 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

There is no time restriction on when comments 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.

Notification and access requirements explanations

Inform its employees and members or shareholders  that it has lodged its report with the Agency and advise how the report may be accessed

As soon as reasonably practicable after lodging a report, a relevant employer must inform employees and any members or shareholders that the report has been lodged with the Agency and how the report 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.

Provide access to the report to employees and members or shareholders

As soon as reasonably practicable after lodging a report, a relevant employer must provide its employees and members or shareholders with access to its report (excluding personal information, details on remuneration and other information that may be specified by the Minister).  An employer could fulfil this requirement by ensuring employees are clearly provided with, for example, a link to a website or intranet site where a copy of the report could be downloaded, or a hard copy of the report.

Inform employee organisations with members in its workplace that the report has been lodged

Within seven days after lodging a report, relevant employers must take all reasonable steps to inform each employee organisation that has members who are employees of that employer 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.

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

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 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.