Nats deny women pay equity transparency

Written By: - Date published: 7:04 am, May 11th, 2017 - 44 comments
Categories: equality, feminism, wages - Tags: , , , ,

As usual National proves itself to be no friend of women. Last night:

Bill for greater transparency in women’s pay discrimination voted down

A private member’s bill that would have provided greater evidence with which to fight gender pay discrimination in New Zealand was lost in Parliament tonight by 59 votes to 60.

Green MP Jan Logie, said the Equal Pay Amendment Bill had been supported by a large number of women and women’s organisations. She said it was a continuum of the fight that began with women’s right to vote and she hoped the House realised how frustrated women were.

The bill would have required employers to tick a box on existing pay records to state whether the employee is male or female. It would also have entitled employees or their representative access to the aggregated data of pay and gender for employees in their workplace doing the same kind of work. The information could have been given to an independent reviewer if the employer believed it would compromise confidentiality.

The bill was designed to provide greater transparency of the gender pay gap in the interests of providing greater evidence to fight pay discrimination.

You will be shocked – shocked I say! – to hear who opposed the bill:

But it was opposed by National, Act, and United Future on the grounds it would add greater compliance to businesses and that it could compromise privacy.

I warned you!

Employers already have to keep pay records for six year recording their employees’ name, postal address, kind of work, type of agreement and expiry date, number of hours worked and pay for those hours in a pay period, method of calculation, and employment relations education leave taken.

So much for the burden of greater compliance.

These parties have voted the bill down because they will always choose employers over people.

44 comments on “Nats deny women pay equity transparency”

  1. Macro 1

    The Dunny strikes again.

  2. KJT 2

    Why not publish all income tax records, like Norway.

    Then we will soon find out if pay rates are fair, and gender equal.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 2.1

      Absolutely agree! Brilliant idea.

    • It’s a little invasive and embarassing for people who are struggling financially to have their income disclosed to the entire country. It also means that you can’t keep your job secret if you want to for whatever reason. (which I maintain for normal people is a right)

      It’s a good policy for people making a lot of money who have no reason to feel embarrassed about their finances though, (like, I would absolutely support it for the top quarter of all earners, for instance) and it would require some work to turn that into a relevant dataset, but is absolutely doable.

      The difference between this and Jan’s approach is basically that her approach assumes anonymity for employees if they want it.

  3. UncookedSelachimorpha 3

    Absolutely, utterly disgraceful. Back to the cave for NZ.

    And coming from a government that bleats on about having data on issues! In fact this is another example of actively hiding information that might be inconvenient.

    Only when they need an excuse to delay taking action (such as in the case of freshwater) do the NActs get all interested in “getting more data”…

    I hope a lot of voters see what crap this latest move is and act accordingly.

  4. Hanswurst 4

    Whoever proofread that Herald article should have lemon juice applied to every light graze they sustain for the rest of their life.

    • In Vino 4.1

      Why? A few awkward sentences to my mind, but no glaring spelling errors that I noticed. Are you saying a proof-reader should alter content?

  5. Sacha 5

    Kuriger rabbiting on about privacy and the proposed change somehow costing women jobs was embarrassing to hear on the wireless.

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.1

      We are blessed having this person as our electorate MP.

      Himself nearly fell out of bed upon hearing her…first time we’ve ever heard her pipe up in the House, and she makes a fool of herself.

      It must be a tradition in this electorate.

  6. mary_a 6

    Typical primitive sexist behaviour of the Natz. What next, clubbing women into conformity?

    Shame on Natz and its disgraceful co-conspirators, ACT and United Future for voting against gender pay equity transparency!

    In particular, double shame on those women MPs who allowed this bill to fail!

    Where can we find out those backward thinking MPs who voted against this bill?

    • The worst part was that they had all their women and liberal darlings (like Paul Foster-Bell) to front for this bill, with the dumbest of excuses that could all have been sorted out in select committee. It was insulting to the intelligence of anyone who watched the footage from Parliament.

      It was a party vote, not a conscience vote, so your beef is with the entire National, ACT, and United Future parties. I’m always a little surprised to discover women voting for them in the first place, but this makes it just super clear that they don’t deserve their supporters.

  7. saveNZ 7


  8. Red 8

    Sanity prevailed

    • mordecai 8.1

      Indeed. It is also ironic that on the day this blog chooses to show a Labour Party logo using the word ‘Liberty’, some here seek to impose ideological (and ill informed) rules on private citizens.

      • What do you think was insane (or to moderate the language if you were merely agreeing with the general sentiment, perhaps “ill-advised”) about this bill?

        Its impact on business was minimal, (it added a single checkbox to an existing tax form required by MBIE) its privacy impact was also minimal, (all the data other than gender identity was already held by the government, and this is a government that demands to record the names of sexual assault survivors, and iirc it would only be available to employees of the particular business and the government) and its data would only be available to employers if there were sufficient points of data to maintain anonymity for each individual employee.

        The technical points like designating what counts as an “independent agency” would be very easy to sort out in a select committee, and it’s completely compatible with the government’s own changes that are forthcoming.

        There are some arguments that the data it would collect would be somewhat simplistic, not accounting for relevant factors that might be included in a yearly review like performance against benchmarks, attendance, experience, and attitude, but that’s simply because the bill took an appproach of minimizing the privacy issues inherent with making information available on pay. (each extra factor other than gender and pay you include makes it more difficult to maintain privacy if the info is released) If a company appears to discriminate on first blush but has an actual good reason for gender pay divergence, (ie. all its most experienced employees are male despite the general trend of most women being overqualified for their positions) they can always explain this to anyone who is interested, and if necessary, use that as a defense in court if anyone does bring an incorrect case. What this does allow is the basic data from which women can actually sue, and the pressure of knowing that information will be available is going to lead to a lot of bad employers defensively changing rate of pay for women if they feel it might be seen as discriminatory.

        • mordecai

          I’ll stick with ‘insane’.
          And I’ll answer you with a simple challenge. Present to me evidence of a job within NZ where a man is paid more for doing exactly the same job, with exactly the same conditions of employment, as a women.

          • McFlock

            Show me two jobs that are exactly the same and have exactly the same conditions of employment.

            • mordecai

              I didn’t ask about two jobs. I asked about 1 job.

              • McFlock

                ok, show me one job held by two people with identical conditions yadda yadda

                • mordecai

                  So you are arguing that there are no two jobs alike. Fine. One day you’ll wake up in the real world. Now answer my question.

                  • McFlock

                    1: You didn’t ask a fucking question, moron. At best, you made a demand.

                    2: You made a demand that I show you “exactly the same job, with exactly the same conditions of employment” one held by a man and the other by a woman. If you can’t satisfy the requirement without even looking for the gender gap, then you made an impossible demand.

                    3: If you expanded the demand for equivalent roles, then the gender gap most definitely exists, and has been demonstrated repeatedly in the NZ employment court.

                    • mordecai"

                      Here is my question:
                      “Present to me evidence of a job within NZ where a man is paid more for doing exactly the same job, with exactly the same conditions of employment, as a women.

                    • mordecai"

                      1. Yep, I did.
                      “Present to me evidence of a job within NZ where a man is paid more for doing exactly the same job, with exactly the same conditions of employment, as a women.”
                      2. No, my question is simply exposing the reality of the situation as those of in the workplace know it.
                      3. Weasel words. Unless you can show that a man doing the same job as a woman is paid ,more.

                    • RedLogix


                      See comment at 11:53pm 14 May below.

                    • McFlock

                      Here is my question:
                      “Present to me evidence of a job within NZ where a man is paid more for doing exactly the same job, with exactly the same conditions of employment, as a women.

                      That is not a question. That is a demand.

                      2. No, my question is simply exposing the reality of the situation as those of in the workplace know it.

                      Dude, I literally demanded of you the same thing you demanded of me, but with one less stipulation. e.g. you demanded to be presented with a green ball, I demanded only to be presented with a ball. If you can’t satisfy my requirement, why on earth would you think that your requirement is reasonable?

                      3. Weasel words. Unless you can show that a man doing the same job as a woman is paid ,more.

                      Weasel words, unless you can show that two people can do the same job.

            • mordecai

              No, it is the same work under the same conditions. Other wise it isn’t the same work. Now answer my question.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I did answer you question. You’re either too stupid to understand the answer or are prevaricating because the answer goes against your beliefs.

                • RedLogix

                  The third link you provided explains it like this:

                  Whilst both equal pay and the gender gap deal with the disparity of pay women receive in the workplace, they are two different issues:

                  1. Equal pay means that men and women in the same employment performing equal work must receive equal pay, as set out in the Equality Act 2010.

                  2. The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across an organisation or the labour market. It is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. In the Britain, there is an overall gender pay gap of 18.1%.


                  In many jobs like say teaching, nursing, paralegal, public service, etc there are clear cut job rating and pay scales defining equal work and equal pay. This is fairly commonplace and is what mordecai is likely referring to. Equal pay is either a legal or policy requirement in many jobs these days.

                  On the other hand the gender pay gap, which is what I suspect you and others are including into the discussion is a real and substantial concern. The link above describes the three main causes of this gap:

                  The causes of the gender pay gap are complex and can be overlapping, but here are some of the factors:

                  1. Girls often do well at school, but tend to end up concentrated in employment sectors that offer narrower scope for financial reward. On the other hand, many of the highest paying sectors are disproportionately made up of male employees.

                  2. The difference in years of experience of full-time work – or the negative effect on wages of having previously worked part-time or of having taken time out of the labour market to look after family.

                  3. Unconscious stereotyping, with assumptions about women not wanting to accept promotion, or not being in a position to do so, particularly where they have caring responsibilities. Women make up 47% of the workforce, but only 35% of managers, directors and senior officials.

                  Note carefully none of these factors are readily mitigated merely by paying females the same as males … there are complex social and gender dynamics at work here. It could be argued the simplest way forward is to scrap the idea of pay equality and legislate that women should be paid more than men for the same work.

                  • McFlock

                    True to a certain point, but in particular point 3 (unconscious stereotyping) also affects equal pay for the simple reason that many aspects of employment evaluation are fuzzy.

                    So you end up with the situation that women need to put more work into quantifying their value, and having to argue strongly for performance evaluations that men might just arbitrarily expect (what’s the phrase – “lean in”).

                    So then their managers think their female workers are too pushy and have teamwork issues.

                    But I’m buggered if I have a solution, especially these days

                  • mordecai"

                    Thanks Red. The only way to argue that a Gender Pay Gap exists is to stereotype certain jobs as ‘male’ or ‘female’, which is what McFlock and others mistakenly do.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            That’s the precise problem this bill seeks to address though: now that pay discrimination has been made illegal, companies are much better about addressing conscious bias and hiding evidence of pay discrimination, but even childless women (to whom arguments about divergent workforce participation clearly shouldn’t apply) are paid 5% less on average than childless men for the same work, and it’s highly likely that the 5% is mostly down to bias, (some of which will be unconscious, which is best remedied by giving employees more info like the Bill proposes) especially as childless people tend to be younger as a demographic, and absences from work tend to be more even between the genders among younger people than it was among previous generations. The easy evidence of discrimination has dried up, but the gap still hasn’t closed. Often when a women does find out she’s paid less, she can have a productive conversation with her boss about why, and often if she has a good case they’ll simply bump up her pay without it ever going to court. But without the data, how can women know they need to talk to their bosses? And how can the ones who do need to go to court prove anything until they know that their pay isn’t normal? It’s not like their boss is actually going to tell them if it’s a case of pay discrimination, so they have to rely on their male colleagues to reveal the inequality.

            Requiring the release of data that can then be safely anonymized or independently audited if it’s not anonymizable gives them that chance in a systematic way, and it will drive employers to be more pro-active and thoughtful about pay equity because it will be easier for them to be dinged.

            And no, you’re not off the bloody hook. What was wrong with this bill, specifically? The approach it takes literally just requires employers to do what they’re already advised to do by the Government to ensure pay equity, and I’ve already addressed why the privacy concerns and “extra administration” arguments are bunk. If it’s so “insane,” you should have an easy criticism that knocks all the arguments for the bill out of the water.

            If you do want a specific case though, I actually have a personal anecdote. (I won’t give details, as I haven’t asked the people in question) I know for a fact that I was paid more than some of my female colleagues at a previous job when I knew they were performing better than me, and it wasn’t because I was a better negotiator, I don’t care that much about money, it’s more about doing the job right and getting respected in the workplace for me. Naturally, I told them, even though I had been instructed not to when I had been given a raise. (long story short, they both got raises and it never went to a formal dispute. It’s likely someone had overvalued some of my soft qualifications, likely due to unconscious bias) So I know for a fact from personal experience that pay discrimination does still happen in the workplace in New Zealand.

            For some reason, it is still legal not only for employers to instruct you not to discuss your salary, but even to write it into your bloody contract. This is another instance in which getting evidence of pay discrimination is blocked because the law provides shelter to those who unwittingly or deliberately discriminate. I haven’t heard of someone getting fired for breaking it, but it’s a huge intimidation factor for those of us who would actively tell our salaries to our female colleagues to make sure they don’t get cheated, and it deserves to be illegal IMO.

            And, as DTB points out, it’s not about the same job, although that’s certainly easier to prove. It’s about the same work. It being the same job makes it easier to prove. Usually successful pay challenges involve people who are doing demonstrably better jobs than their colleagues but are still being paid less, because it’s actually very hard to prove you’re doing equal when you don’t get to see everyone else’s performance evals and salaries, only your own.

            • Lara

              Excellent points Matthew, love the comments.

              And to Red and Mordecai, go here to find plenty more real life examples of sexism in the work place leading to a lack of promotion and lower pay for women.

              It’s really not hard to find this information. But the catch is, you have to believe that these women are telling the truth.

              I strongly suspect that’s going to be a problem for you…

              • mordecai

                Lara, you seem to misunderstand my point. I’m not arguing there isn’t sexism. I’m asking for a real life example where a man is paid more to do the same job as a woman. I’m still waiting.

  9. Chch_chiquita 9

    “But it was opposed by National, Act, and United Future on the grounds it would add greater compliance to businesses and that it could compromise privacy.”
    What utter bullshit. As an employer I can think of an easy one-off reporting system that will give all the information required, which will probably add 10 more minutes of work when recruiting an employee and entering the data into the payroll system. Things could have been discussed at the submission stage, but no, this government would rather support exploiting employers. I wonder why.

  10. Heather Grimwood 10

    I find it shattering after all these years of working for this entitlement…yes entitlement! that this member’s bill was defeated.
    We older women realised we were fighting for the younger women in our families and community, but this vote by Nats, Act and United Future is absolute proof that in their eyes women are indeed second-class citizens…..and this well into the 21st century.
    I ask where are their own women? Where is the Minister for Women? Any woman from the above should be uttterly ashamed for not crossing the floor.

  11. dv 11

    How the hell is ONE tick box a huge compliance cost.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      It’s not compliance that’s the problem.

      • dv 11.1.1

        But thats the line I saw some natz running.

        • McFlock

          yeah, it’s like not wanting to employ women because the plumbing might have to be changed a bit, or the line that there wouldn’t be so many Māori in prison if they didn’t commit so much crime. Sounds almost plausible until you actually start to think about it.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    One reason why I don’t think that the market works is because of peoples general lack of information. I considered this in relation to jobs and decided that what is needed is a database that categorised every single job and the amount paid for experience level etcetera. This would be a government database that’s available for everyone to read so that they’d have an ideas as to what the market rate is for that job when going to negotiations.

    It could help people on choosing their careers or even choosing to change careers and it could easily be used to highlight the difference between male and female pay rates.

    Employers would be against such a service because they don’t actually want people knowing what the market rate is. Without such knowledge of the market rate people are at a disadvantage in their pay negotiations – especially young people and people changing careers.

    • Yeah, this is why one of the issues I really hope someone takes up as part of a related bill is to make it clear that all employees have a right to disclose their pay and contract provisions to their colleagues. Not only does this help with equal pay, it’s also necessary to the operation of a union, and I don’t see any actual practical reason that salary non-disclosure is necessary.

      • KJT 12.1.1

        As i currently belong to a Union, everyone at my workplace knows my salary.
        I don’t see it as a problem.

        And knowing the incomes of many of the working poor may well embarrass some employers in occupations such as fruit picking or hospitality.
        I know of two cases at the moment where it would expose employers breaking the law.

  13. MikeS 13

    There’s no evidence that women are discriminated against in terms of getting paid less for doing the same job as a man. It is illegal in this country to discriminate on gender. The Gender Pay Gap has been completely misrepresented to suit minority agendas, it is nothing to do with women being paid less than men for doing the same job.

    Logic would say that if women are getting paid 23% (or whatever the latest figure is) less than men for doing the same job then businesses would be hiring almost entirely women in order to save 23% on their payroll expenses. Why is that not happening? Does anyone really believe that a corporation cares more about an employee’s gender and would deliberately have less female employees rather than making huge amounts of easy profit? Bullshit.

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