National Council of Women welcomes announcement on pay equity

The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) welcomes the recommendations of the Working Group on Pay Equity Principles (the Working Group) announced today.

Rae Duff, NCWNZ National President, said that: “This is a historic step forward in achieving pay equity for women. The recommended principles, if implemented and resourced properly, will enable jobs traditionally performed by women to be valued fairly. These include jobs in the health and education sector, such as aged care workers, social workers, support workers and those in a range of community services”.

She applauded the Working Group’s participatory process involving the three key parties: government, employers and unions.

The Working Group was established to consider how employers and workers should implement pay equity. It was the Government’s response to the Kristine Bartlett/Terranova Homes’ equal pay case, in which the Courts found that the Equal Pay Act 1972 “requires equal pay for work of equal value (pay equity), not simply the same pay for the same work”. This was part of long-term, concerted activity by unions and other non-governmental organisations (including NCWNZ) to address the issue of low pay and under-valued work in occupations dominated by women.  This has gained strong public support in recent years.

Rae Duff noted that achieving equal pay for women has been an NCWNZ objective since 1895 and that the Working Group’s recommendations will enable the Equal Pay Act 1972 to better meet that objective.  She emphasised, however, that the success of the changes will rely on the commitment of government and employers to adequate resourcing – and on a comprehensive communication strategy to ensure that all concerned are clear about the process involved.

NCWNZ congratulates the Working Group and urges Government to adopt the recommended principles, so that women working in currently low paid and undervalued occupations can at last receive the recognition they deserve

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