The Government must move faster to close gender and ethnic pay gaps if it wants to help people who are struggling with low wages due to discrimination, says MindTheGap.
Today in Parliament, the Government published its response to the Education and Workforce Select Committee inquiry into pay transparency. The inquiry recommended a mandatory and comprehensive pay transparency regime rather than voluntary compliance.
The Government’s response committed to a work programme around pay transparency, but provided no concrete timelines, budgets or resourcing to see this work happen at pace.
MindTheGap founders Jo Cribb and Dellwyn Stuart say while they welcome the Government’s positive response, it’s time to take action now to ensure all New Zealand employees are paid fairly.
“While it’s positive to see the Government accept this is an issue that needs to be resolved, we worry the lack of timelines and concrete commitments suggests this issue will just drag on and on.
“There’s no need for delay – we’ve had a full Select Committee inquiry that has heard from the best experts in business and civil society on this issue and we have overseas examples to draw on. The Select Committee made concrete recommendations that could be acted upon swiftly.
“Right now, Māori, Pasifika, women and ethnic communities are suffering discrimination which is driving lower wages,” says Dellwyn Stuart.
“We know that legislative changes to make pay gap reporting compulsory could increase some incomes by up to $35 per week, additional pay that is sorely needed this winter.
“The Government’s promises will not pay the power bill over winter, words will not pay the grocery bill”.
“Our message to the Government is simple: you’ve acknowledged there’s a problem, you know what needs to be done to fix it. It’s time to act,” says co-founder Jo Cribb.
Mind the Gap is calling for the Government to work with businesses to agree on a standardised approach to reporting and introduce pay gap reporting legislation with urgency. Mandatory reporting is already in place for the New Zealand public service.
The national pay gap is 9.1% but it is a lot higher in many companies. On average it means for every dollar a Pākehā man earns, a Pākehā woman earns $0.89, a Māori woman $0.81 and a Pasifika woman $0.75.
“New Zealand’s pay gap has remained stuck for well over ten years, while many other countries have taken action to address theirs. In all good conscience is the Government happy that year after year Pasifika women are earning 27% less than Pakeha men?”