New Zealand plans to require large firms to report gender pay gaps
To improve equity in the workplace, New Zealand’s government will compel large businesses to report their gender pay gaps, Minister for Women Jan Tinetti announced Friday as the ruling Labour party prepares for an election battle.
It is expected that 900 businesses with 250 or more employees will be asked to report their gender pay gaps under the proposed legislation, Tinetti said.
Over the next four years, the requirement will be extended to cover companies with more than 100 employees, covering about 2,700 firms in total.
The workplace is a different place for women and men, and there is a need for change. “Companies will be encouraged to address the reasons for their gender pay gap if they are required to disclose it,” she said.
While women tend to have similar or better qualifications than men, there is still a 12% gap in full-time workers’ median earnings across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
A record-low 7.7% gender pay gap has been achieved in New Zealand’s public service sector, with more than half of top-tier senior management roles held by women.
According to Tinetti, about 200 companies, including Air New Zealand and Spark, voluntarily disclose their gender pay gap or plan to do so. According to OECD data, the gap across the entire economy has stagnated and stands at 9.2% in 2022.
Tinetti points out that countries like Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom already report gender pay gaps, so New Zealand needs to follow international standards to attract highly qualified women.
In 2021, a government household survey found that the equivalent earnings of a non-ethnic New Zealand man were 89 cents for his female counterpart. M?ori women earn 81 cents on the dollar, while Pasifika women earn just 75 cents.
The government hopes to seek public feedback on reporting ethnicity pay gaps for Mori and Pacific peoples through the legislation, said Priyanca Radhakrishnan, associate minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.
Currently, the legislation has not been drafted, and with only three weeks left until the general election in October, the requirement will have to be implemented once a new government has been formed.
We are announcing our plans to introduce a reporting system early in the process to make sure we receive a wide range of input from stakeholders on the design of the system before legislation outlining it is drafted,” Radhakrishnan said.
Labour’s ruling government is currently trailing in the polls against the center-right National Party, which has long positioned itself as a low-tax, business-friendly party.
Jacinda Ardern announced her surprise resignation at the beginning of this year, saying she didn’t have the energy to run again.
Her successor as prime minister is Chris Hipkins, who is now tasked with winning the October 14 election.