Transparency to be first step to close gender pay gap

Employers will soon have their pay rates for male and female workers published in a bid to increase transparency and help close the gender pay gap.

Minister for Women Katy Gallagher will introduce a law to the Senate requiring the publication of pay gaps in workplaces with 100 or more employees.

The minister said this would be a key reform towards driving transparency and action.

ā€œOn current projections it will take another 26 years to close the gender pay gap,ā€ she said.

Australian women are earning nearly $26,000 less than male colleagues.

Data released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in December showed the gap was stuck at 22.8 per cent.

Seven in 10 employers have pay gaps favouring men while women continue to be under-represented in leadership.

Australian Council of Trade Unions head Michele Oā€™Neil said despite equal pay being a right enshrined in law there were structural and cultural issues across workplaces which contributed to the pay gap.

ā€œFor too long, individual companies with significant gender pay gaps have been able to evade scrutiny and avoid having to address problems within their workplaces that have led to women workers being undervalued,ā€ she said.

Ms Oā€™Neil said the government should next require all businesses to disclose gender pay and implement measures to close the superannuation gap.

Senator Gallagher said inequality hurt the economy, with $51.8 billion a year lost in womenā€™s pay.

ā€œWomen have waited long enough for the pay gap to close, letā€™s not wait another quarter of a century,ā€ she said.

ā€œThe bill will also reduce red tape for businesses making it easier to report.ā€

Reporting will start in 2024, drawing on data already provided by employers.

Gender pay gaps will be published on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency website.

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Maeve Bannister
(Australian Associated Press)

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