Labor has announced a promise of greater transparency around the gender pay gap in Australia, saying it will put into place legislation that requires companies to publicly release their data on companies and their employee salaries.
Labor’s plans to release new gender pay initiatives include plans for legislation that will ensure public reporting, while not allowing pay secrecy clauses that prevent some employees from disclosing their pay.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese plans to announce that if his party wins the next federal election, they will enact a searchable gender pay equity portal that will publish companies’ headline gender pay gap, and managerial and non-managerial pay gaps.
In a statement, Albanese remarked that current research shows “Australian women working for companies that report to the WGEA (Workplace Gender Equality Agency) earn, on average, $25,534 less than men every year and face a 20 percent gap in total wages.”
“The situation is only getting worse,” he said.
Currently, companies report their gender pay data to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency though the results from individual companies are not publicly available.
Last year, Libby Lyons, the director of the WGEA, alerted the public to the fact that Australian employers were on autopilot when it comes to changing the current conditions of pay equity. Lyons said there was a “troubling” reduction in the number of employers taking remedial action to address the gender pay gaps.
Albanese also plans to look at the gender pay gap in the Australian Public Service, as well as building up the capacity of the Fair Work Commission to increase the pay of workers in low-paid, female-dominated industries.
Labor’s new policy on gender pay gap would also include reporting that would give companies the option of offering a statement explaining their pay gap, and their actions they intend to do to amend it.
Companies with more than 1,000 employees will also be required to report within two years, while others will be given four years to report their results.
Albanese took to Twitter today, saying “Labor will legislate so that companies with more than 250 employees will have to report their gender pay gap publicly.”
Marking International Women’s Day, Albanese also added “Women should be in every room where decisions are made – and I’m proud to work alongside so many dedicated women in the Labor team. Happy International Women’s Day.”