No Right Turn: Here’s hoping

Written By: - Date published: 6:10 am, October 27th, 2017 - 11 comments
Categories: employment, gender, sexism, wages - Tags: , , ,

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn writes:

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Back in May, National, ACT and United Future got together to vote down Jan Logie’s Equal Pay Amendment Bill. The bill would have provided greater information and transparency around gender and pay, allowing discrimination to be uncovered and corrected. But now that the balance of power in Parliament has changed, it might be back:

A defeated private member’s bill that would force the private sector to open up its books and reveal more about gender pay differences may be resurrected as a Government bill, in an effort to narrow the gender pay gap.

The Women’s portfolio, to be held by Green MP Julie Anne Genter, was one of many allocations that were released today by Prime Minister-designate Jacinda Ardern. Genter said one of her top priorities was to close the gender pay gap, “both in the public and private sector”.

Asked about bringing back the Equal Pay Amendment Bill, which was voted down in May this year by the narrowest of margins, she said: “That is a Green Party bill and certainly one of many things that I”ll be investigating in the role, and trying to win support for with the new Government.”

Good. Because we have a real pay equity problem in New Zealand, and we need to fix it. Clearly, current policies aren’t working so new ones are needed. And removing the secrecy which hides employer sexism would be a damn good start.

11 comments on “No Right Turn: Here’s hoping”

  1. Antoine 1

    I guess a bit more sunlight is often nice

    A.

  2. Angel FIsh 2

    An investigation won’t hurt but the pay gap claim just doesn’t make any sense.
    Even if an employer was spiteful, they are unlikely to compromise profit for their pettiness. If Women can be paid less for the same work that men do, then you would mostly be hiring women and save the company money.

    Both the accusers and the accused should be fairly and objectively investigated, rather than believing either party at their word.

    • Antoine 2.1

      > Both the accusers and the accused should be fairly and objectively investigated, rather than believing either party at their word.

      How can you have a “fair and objective investigation” if you start from the premise that “the pay gap claim doesn’t make any sense”?

      > If Women can be paid less for the same work that men do, then you would mostly be hiring women and save the company money.

      That is a dumb argument.

      A person who pays women less than men, does it because they value women less than men. Then why would they want to hire mostly women?

      A.

      • tracey 2.1.1

        ” A person who pays women less than men, does it because they value women less than men. Then why would they want to hire mostly women? ”

        And because this is a belief formed on misconception it is hard to dislodge but in my experience IF you can get evidence in front of them they will change. Sadly smaller businesses do not have time or resources to look up and around to enable this bit of light to shine through.

    • tracey 2.2

      Actually you are wrong. Statistics show for example, that companies with more women and other diversity on their boards perform about 30% more profitably than those which keep with mainly men.

      Your view presupposes that the men making the decisions to not pay equally know it harms their business. In fact their belief that women are worth less overrides any logic.

    • red-blooded 2.3

      So, AF, are women just less capable than men, then? Or maybe just less hardworking? Maybe we lack ambition… It’s probably all of those things. Yeah, that makes sense!

      Of course this is a complex issue, we’re thinking about issues like the types of work undertaken predominantly by one or other gender, the impact of childbearing and child rearing on career progression (though only one of these has to be performed solely by just women, I note). Still, there’s no reason not to take this issue seriously and damn well do something (probably many somethings) about it. Over a woman;s lifetime, this is something that makes a lot of economic difference and can also have a big psychological impact. Plus, it’s simply not fair.

  3. Bill 3

    That bill (if I’m understanding it correctly) would blow the lid off of much more than just the gender pay gap. It would deliver power back to workers and rob employers of their ability to quietly pay ever lower wages to increasing numbers of staff via Individual Employment Agreements that contain bogus confidentiality clauses around pay rates.

    • tracey 3.1

      Cut backs to immigration which appear to be going to hit low skill migrants and businesses which rely on them to live the lives they desire for themselves and their family, will be interesting to watch. Market forces suggest they pay wages and have conditions that attract kiwis or they fold or they becone lobbyist against WINZ making it SO hard for those on benefits to move from benefits to seasonal work and back again.

      In this, business will actually have 3 choices.

  4. Matthew Whitehead 4

    I also mentioned this on social media, but one of the things I hope Julie Anne considers here is also empowering workers to personally disclose their salaries, too, as this has been the genesis of a lot of pay discrimination complaints to date, and employers seem to be cracking down on it with provisions that class their employees’ wages as commercially sensitive and require non-disclosure of their salary. (some are even so clumsily worded that you would technically be in breach just by having a joint bank account with your spouse) Invalidating such clauses and establishing a positive right of employees to disclose their own salary could also prevent backsliding on pay equity, in addition to its positive effects on labour rights. Thematically, such reforms kind of belong in the same bill as Jan Logie’s originally proposed changes. (which will go even further along the same path, but will work more effectively in tandem with keeping personal salary discosures an open avenue for gathering evidence)

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