It’s up to every leader to call out gender equality as a key priority for their organisation. It takes more than just words, you need a clear plan with measurable outcomes. It starts with the CEO and everyone needs to work together to drive change.’
Gail Kelly, former CEO Westpac and member of Chief Executive Women
Achieving gender equality, including gender pay equity, is a process that takes time and conscious significant effort.
Gender pay equity is about ensuring women and men performing the same role are paid the same amount, and women and men performing different work of equal or comparable value are paid equitably. This requires a valuing of skills, responsibilities and working conditions in a non-discriminatory way.
There are many reasons for the gap between earnings for women. A range of historical factors have played a part in creating the gender pay gap. Today, influencing factors can include:
- Unintended gender biases in hiring, promotion, performance and pay decisions
- The undervaluation of skills in industries and areas where women predominate
- Women’s lack of access to work-based training
- Different levels of eligibility for discretionary payments such as over-award payments, bonuses and performance pay
- Inflexible organisational structures that restrict the employment prospects
Best practice employers take steps to ensure that gender-based pay discrimination is not part of their remuneration system. While different organisations will be on different stages of the journey in addressing gender pay equity, according to WGEA there are six steps that are crucial to take to improve pay equity:
- Awareness and understanding
Develop a basic understanding of the key issues surrounding pay equity
- Build a business case
Articulate why pay equity is important for your organisation
- Gain leadership commitment
Secure buy-in from the leadership team to investigate and address pay equity issues
- Data analysis
Identify any gender pay gaps and investigate the causes
- Strategy and action
Build a clear set of goals and action plans to improve pay equity
- Review and refine
Monitor and review pay equity continuously
For more detailed information on each of these steps, download a copy of the WGEA Guide to Gender Pay Equity. There is a great checklist on page 8 of the to get you started in understanding the factors that might be an issue in your organisation.
The 105 companies that make up Gaming & Hospitality and report to WGEA, only 28 (26.6%) conducted a gender pay gap analysis in the last 12 months AND of these companies only 17 took action. That is only 60.7% of the minority companies conducting a gender pay gap analysis took action. We expect more and demand more from organisations in this industry.
There were three companies that cited “it was not a priority” as the reason for not conducting a Gender Pay Gap Analysis. Only one company cited “it is under development” – well done City Tattersalls Club.
These companies conducted Gender Pay Gap Analysis in past 12 months – is your company on the list?
There are also obligations under the Fair Work Act regarding gender pay equity that organisations need to be aware of. These include:
- The Fair Work Commission can make an equal remuneration order requiring certain employees be provided equal remuneration for work of equal or comparable value. An application for an equal remuneration order can be made by an affected employee, a union which is entitled to represent an affected employee or the Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
- Once an equal remuneration order has been made, it will prevail over a modern award, enterprise agreement, a Fair Work Commission order or any other industrial instrument if it is more beneficial than these instruments.
- An employer that contravenes an equal remuneration order can be liable for a penalty.
In addition to meeting their obligations under legislation, employers can also achieve gender pay equity through introducing initiatives that respond to the specific needs of their workplaces. A best practice business will endeavour to identify areas where equal opportunity may be improved and will design and implement policies and practices to achieve improvement.
Fair Work’s Checklist for Pay Equity Best Practice
- Do your organisation’s policies and practices support pay equity? Is there a transparent performance review process and equitable access to training, promotions, and rewards and benefits programs?
- Does your organisation have an equitable wage setting process that has been checked to ensure it is free of gender bias?
- Are jobs fully and fairly described and valued, and work value factors such as skill, level of responsibility and working conditions consistently measured?
- Has your organisation undertaken a pay equity audit to determine areas and occupations where gender pay inequity may exist? A Payroll Analysis Tool is available from WGEA’s website to help identify gender pay gaps. An audit usually involves a review of the payroll data to identify the areas where there may be gender inequities.
- Are there flexible working arrangements? Are the flexible working arrangements available to all employees, and does the workplace culture support such arrangements?
- Is pay equity incorporated into your organisation’s business objectives and goals?
- Does your organisation compare salaries for men and women upon commencement, yearly and on promotion to analyse where gaps exist and either seek justification for any imbalances or work to eliminate them altogether?
You can find more information and resources on equal pay between women and men at WGEA’s website