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A New Pay Transparency Mandate Will Close Australia’s Gender Pay Gap In 26 Years

Everything you need to know about the new Gender Pay Gap bill.
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The Australian Government has introduced a new bill to mandate pay transparency and close the gender pay gap. 

This means that companies can officially be named and shamed for having a large gender pay gap. 

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the Australian gender pay gap currently sits at 22.8%. 

In other words, men are earning $26,600 more than women

While men have been shown to work full time more than women (usually due to women taking on a disproportionate level of child-rearing and household responsibilities) there’s still a 14.1% gap between male and female full time workers. 

Addressing this gender pay gap in a statement, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said “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.”

“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,” he added.

What is the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023? 

The new Workplace Gender Equality Amendment Bill requires employers with at least 100 workers to publicly disclose their gender pay gaps. 

This data will then be published on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency for public viewing. 

The bill also introduces new rules for companies with 500 employers and over, requiring these companies to have a dedicated gender equality strategy. 

The legislation’s aim is to encourage more accountability and action around gender pay gaps. 

What laws are currently in place? 

The new legislation will replace the current Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, which requires employers with at least 100 employees to report on their gender pay gaps to the WGEA and provide a copy of the report to their employees. 

However, up until now, companies haven’t been required to make their pay gap reports public. 

When will the changes happen? 

Once the bill passes, the changes will come into practice from early 2024. 

You can also expect to see more changes in the future, as the government reviews more gender pay gap recommendations. 

Currently, there are two more gender pay gap legislations in review, including: 

  • Specific gender pay targets for companies with at least 500 workers 
  • Mandatory collection of pay data for non-binary employees
Senator Katy Gallagher
Senator Katy Gallagher. (Credit: Getty)

In a statement, Minister for Women Senator Katy Gallagher explained that global experience has shown that transparency encourages companies to take action around gender pay gaps. 

“On average, women working full-time can expect to earn 14.1% less than men per week in their pay packets,” Gallagher said, “the gender pay gap is also holding our economy back with $51.8 billion a year lost when it comes to women’s pay.” 

“On current projections, it will take another 26 years to close the gender pay gap. Women have waited long enough for the pay gap to closelet’s not wait another quarter of a century.”

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