It’s been over 40 years since the Equal Pay Act 1972 was passed and lots has changed in New Zealand since then. One thing that hasn’t is New Zealand’s persistent pay imbalance. It’s time for New Zealand to once again lead the world in women’s rights and ensure that women and men receive equal pay for work of equal value.
Achieving equal pay could be as easy as 1,2,3.
- The Government could implement the agreed Equal Pay Principles. A group of people representing government, business and working people have created the principles and they can serve as a framework which let employers and working people identify whether their job was being fairly remunerated. All that’s needed now is for the Government to agree to make the principles a reality
- Settle the equal pay claim taken by Kristine Bartlett on behalf of caregivers. The courts have agreed with Kristine, that she and her colleagues do indeed have an equal pay claim. This means our legal system agrees that, in this case at least, caregivers have not been fairly paid because the work they do, caring for our elderly, has been systematically undervalued because it’s been performed mainly by women.
- Allocate funding so that future equal pay claims can be settled. Caring is not the only occupation to be undervalued and the Government needs to acknowledge this.
A key part of our campaign for equal pay is building a community around the issue within unions and wider civil society. To complement existing pay equity coalitions in Wellington and Auckland, we are aiming to start in Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson Palmerston North and Hamilton.