The new Pay Equity Legislation

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, November 9th, 2017 - 17 comments
Categories: Amy Adams, Iain Lees-Galloway, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins, Nikki Kaye - Tags:

National has shown today tactically how it is going to deal with Jacinda Ardern.  In Parliament three of its female MPs, Amy Adams and Nikki Kaye and Judith Collins all unloaded on Jacinda and tried to suggest that she and Labour are not interested in pay equity.

From the Herald:

National says it is “sad” the Jacinda Ardern-led government has so quickly dropped gender pay equity legislation.

But Labour has hit back, saying the previous administration’s legislation “was deliberately designed to put barriers in the way of women who wish to make a pay equity claim”.

Nikki Kaye, Amy Adams and Judith Collins were all critical of the decision today to drop the legislation.

“I think it is a very sad day that one of the first actions of our woman Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is to remove this piece of legislation from the motion that we have before us,” Kaye said in Parliament.

“And there have been comments made regarding the lack of females in the executive and I just think we should reflect on that.”

Labour has rubbished the claim.  Again from the Herald:

Labour later released a statement heavily critical of the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill introduced to Parliament in July.

“All three Government parties were clear during the Bill’s first reading that we were opposed to the legislation, and that we would not rest until New Zealand workers have genuine opportunities for pay equity,” Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway said in the statement.

“While both sides of the House seemed united in lauding the TerraNova decision in favour of care and support workers and Kristine Bartlett, the previous Government immediately introduced legislation that fundamentally changed the ability of anyone else to achieve the same result.

“The current legislation diminishes the opportunity for people to make a pay equity claim, and we were clear that if we were elected then it would be the end of the line for this Bill. We were, and it is.

“The Government will stop progress on the Employment (Equal Pay and Pay Equity) Bill and start work on new legislation that adheres to all the principles of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity.”

And the TEU is happy with the scrapping of National’s bill.  Suzanne McNabb at the TEU has said this:

We congratulate the government on taking action so promptly on their commitment to equal pay for work of equal value. National introduced the Bill knowing it would make it more difficult for women to achieve equal pay and ever since working people have been standing together to demand better”.

The basic problem with the bill was that it was a lemon.  It replaced retrospectively the Equal Pay Act 1972.  Old claims if they survived would have to be under the new rules.  And the process for establishing a claim was made really complex.  Professional economic analysis would have been required, the Act only applied to industries with more than 66% of its workforce performing particular work being female, and the assessment process relied on identifying appropriate comparators.  There was a hierachy of these, the effect of which would have been that male workers in the same industry would have been preferred.  For instance rest home gardeners would have been the initial male comparators for female rest home care workers.  The process would have often trapped comparison claims to other jobs within industries that are poorly paid.

So more complex rules, and the proposed comparison process would be dumbed down with the prospect that it would have been industry specific.  This was exactly the problem identified in the Kristine Bartlett case.

And if you want to see why Jacinda’s speech in Parliament when National’s pay equity legislation gives all the justification you need to see.

17 comments on “The new Pay Equity Legislation”

  1. Antoine 1

    So where is “the new pay equity legislation” you refer to?

    A.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      The Government will stop progress on the Employment (Equal Pay and Pay Equity) Bill and start work on new legislation that adheres to all the principles of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity.

      Is English your second language or something? Read the above passage and if you still cannot understand it, please don’t be afraid to ask for help.

      • Antoine 1.1.1

        Perhaps “No new pay equity legislation yet” would have been a better headline

        A.

        • mickysavage 1.1.1.1

          Its being worked on as we talk so it is a thing.

        • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.1.2

          Sure, exactly as promised. The status quo is better than National’s lemon bill for now, anyway.

          • tracey 1.1.1.2.1

            Yes, cos the status quo is currently based on a Court of Appeal decision available for all to read for free.

            Those wishing to read the CA full decision can do so here:

            https://www.employmentcourt.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Decisions/2014-NZCA-516-CA631-2013-Terranova-Homes-Care-Limited-v-Service-Food-Workers-Union-Inc-and-Bartlett.pdf?SubsiteID=1

            Also

            “There are four key problems with the Bill:

            1. It imposes an unnecessary hierarchy of comparators,

            2. It creates onerous requirements for women to prove merit in order to initiate a pay equity claim,

            3. It extinguishes women’s ability to seek back pay in a pay equity claim, and

            4. The transitional provisions unfairly and retrospectively deal with current claims and new claims until the Bill becomes law.

            “What the Government needs to do is bring a Bill to the house which is consistent with the already agreed joint Principles, is consistent with the Court of Appeal ruling in Bartlett v Terranova, and provides a constitutionally acceptable way of dealing with existing equal pay claims,” Wagstaff said.”

            So knocking the Bill out IS the first step to providing better equirt AND by knocking it out ensures the criteria set by the CA are the ones to be followed by Employers until a new Law is passed.

            “There are four key problems with the Bill:

            1. It imposes an unnecessary hierarchy of comparators,

            2. It creates onerous requirements for women to prove merit in order to initiate a pay equity claim,

            3. It extinguishes women’s ability to seek back pay in a pay equity claim, and

            4. The transitional provisions unfairly and retrospectively deal with current claims and new claims until the Bill becomes law.

            “What the Government needs to do is bring a Bill to the house which is consistent with the already agreed joint Principles, is consistent with the Court of Appeal ruling in Bartlett v Terranova, and provides a constitutionally acceptable way of dealing with existing equal pay claims,” Wagstaff said.”

            http://www.sfwu.org/article.php?group_id=1318

        • Foreign waka 1.1.1.3

          I belief that you should give the process time and the new government the courtesy to get on with it. This impatient “are we there yet” sprouted is petulant.
          Lets not forget, there is almost a decade of files, documents with the proverbial small print to go through. Better to take the time and get it right than mucking about or just pulling the rug because things are “difficult”.
          I am sure that the comments by the then government that the settlement for the aged care workers was a “one off” has spurned the review.

    • tracey 1.2

      I think they have only been government for about a month. I might be wrong.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.2.1

        Better way of putting it IMO is that Parliament only just sat properly for the first time yesterday, and the Nats tried to run out the clock during that sitting. Can’t blame them for not yet having a bill before the house when there’s literally been no time to get one there.

        (also, the very first bill WAS one that will help with functional pay equity- extending paid parental leave)

        I don’t recall John Key facing these unrealistic timetables.

        • tracey 1.2.1.1

          No, well he had to wait for his “Forum” in 2009 which was going to be a do-fest not a talk-fest…and would give all the answers to the creation and protection of jobs during the GFC that we couldn’t get from him during the 2008 election. From memory we eventually got

          90 day trials (but only for big businesses so don’t worry, but then became for all businesses)
          Subsidies to employers to keep people in work
          Cycle trail

          • Matthew Whitehead 1.2.1.1.1

            LOL yes, thanks for the reminder. Got that was incompetent. Makes the starting fumbles of this government look like bloody genius in comparison huh?

      • Antoine 1.2.2

        I don’t mind their timeframe, I just objected to micky’s headline 🙂

  2. Janice 2

    One of the first things that the Natz did in 2008 was to close down the office working for pay equity within the Labour Department. I recall requests through my networks for someone to take the documents relating to this work. The women working in the office felt that they had to walk out and leave all the work they had done on pay equity to be shredded. Perhaps someone else remembers this as well.

    • tc 2.1

      This is the type of action that needs to be highlighted by the govt so people can connect the dots. Keep doing this across all the portfolios so a picture of wilful and deliberate destruction is built up and hammered home over the next 3 years.

      This govt needs to bear in mind it’s got the MSM/corporatocracy up against it so a strategy that get the message out and repeats it over and over is required.

      Next election people need to go to the polls full of publicly available data about the gutting that’s been undertaken over the last 9 years and who benefited from it.

  3. JanM 3

    He he – Cinderella and the Ugly Sisters!

    • tracey 3.1

      Let us not forget these 3 would be acting as part of an agreed strategy which would surely include Bill English and Steven Joyce.

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