Hon Paula Bennett

  • Minister of State Services

Hon Michael Woodhouse

  • Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety

Hon Louise Upston

  • Minister for Women
24 November 2016       Media Statement
Govt accepts recommendations on pay equity
The Government will update the Equal Pay Act and amend the Employment Relations Act to implement recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity.
This will make it easier for women to file pay equity claims with their employers, rather than having to go through the courts. It will also assist employers in addressing those claims.
“The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Joint Working Group, which set out principles for raising and resolving pay equity claims through bargaining,” State Services Minister Paula Bennett says.
The Joint Working Group reported back earlier this year with a number of recommendations, including:

  • Principles to provide guidance to employers and employees in identifying, assessing and resolving pay equity claims.
  • A process for employers and employees to follow to address pay equity, including a bargaining process based on the Employment Relations Act framework.

“I would like to thank the union and employer representatives on the Joint Working Group for their hard work and commitment to what is a very important issue,” Mrs Bennett says.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse says the Government has also decided to supplement the Joint Working Group’s recommendations to clarify how to choose an appropriate job for comparison when making a pay equity claim.
“This was an area the Joint Working Group was not able to agree on. However, the Government believes this needs to be addressed to ensure the process is clear and effectively addresses pay equity claims for all parties.
“This is a major step forward for achieving pay equity in New Zealand and reflects the Government‘s commitment to working New Zealanders,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Ms Upston says it is important that gender doesn’t affect what people are paid.
“Occupations shouldn’t be lower paid just because women make up most of the employees,” she says.
“The Government’s response today means that employees and employers can resolve concerns about unequal pay in good faith.
“In addition, there will be a pathway for resolving issues, as happens with other employment matters, including mediation and ultimately the Employment Relations Authority.”
“These changes show we are heading in the right direction when it comes to closing the gender pay gap, of which pay equity is one component, and goes a long way towards achieving real, meaningful results for all women,” Ms Upston says.
Changes to the Equal Pay Act 1972 and the Employment Relations Act 2000 are needed to implement the changes. The Government expects to introduce a Bill next year.
Media contact:  James Meager (Minister Bennett) 021 534 214
Yvette McKinley (Minister Woodhouse) 027 427 7297
Elliot Steel (Minister Upston) 027 428 5744
Attachment: Summary of the Joint Working Group’s recommendations and the Government’s response.  summary-of-response-to-joint-working-group-on-pay-equity-principles
This note summarises the Government response to the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles’ (JWG’s) proposals.

JWG recommendations Response
Any employee or group of employees can make a claim. Agree
Equal pay is remuneration (including but not limited to time wages, overtime payments and allowances) which has no element of gender-based differentiation. Agree
Equal pay must be free from any systemic undervaluation, that is, undervaluation derived from the effects of current, historical or structural gender-based differentiation. Agree
Criteria for determining the merit of a claim as a pay equity claim
In determining the merit of the claim as an equal pay claim, the following factors must be considered:
i The work must be shown to be predominantly performed by women and may also include areas where remuneration for this work may have been affected by:

a any occupational segregation;

b any occupational segmentation;

ii The work may have been historically undervalued because of:

a any relevant origins and history of the work and the wage setting for it;

b any social, cultural or historical factors which may have led to undervaluing or devaluing of the work and the remuneration paid for it;

c there is or has been some characterisation or labelling of the work as “women’s work”;

d any social, cultural or historical phenomena whereby women are considered to have “natural” or “inherent” qualities not required to be accounted for in wages paid;

iii Whether gender-based systemic undervaluation has affected the remuneration for the work due to:

a Features of the market, industry or sector or occupation which may have resulted in continued undervaluation of the work, including but not limited to:

i. a dominant source of funding across the market, industry or sector;

ii. the lack of effective bargaining;

b The failure by the parties to properly assess or consider the remuneration that should be paid to properly account for the nature of the




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