Companies compelled to report on gender pay gap

The government has passed its workplace gender equality bill through the Senate.

The government has passed its workplace gender equality bill through the Senate. Photo: AAP

Companies that underpay female employees will no longer be able to hide.

The government passed its workplace gender equality bill through the Senate on Thursday, requiring companies with 100 or more employees to publish the incomes of their workers from early next year.

Organisations are being told to prepare to have their gender pay gaps published by workplace gender equality advocates or risk reputational harm.

“Don’t wait to be named and shamed,” Science in Australia gender equity chief Dr Janin Bredehoeft said.

“Use the next 12 months to review and improve.”

Australian women who work full-time earn $253.30 less a week than their male counterparts, a gap of almost 15 per cent.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has collected gender pay gap data but was not authorised to publish it until Thursday.

Instead, tools and guides to help companies assess and improve their pay gaps were provided by the agency prior to the bill passing.

Dr Bredehoeft said only 56 per cent of medical research institutes had taken action while 38 per cent of universities had formal policies.

Minister for Women Katy Gallagher said it would take almost three decades to close the gap without immediate action.

“Women have waited long enough for the pay gap to close,” she said.

“The government will not let them wait another quarter of a century.”

Consultation is under way on setting targets for employers with 500 or more workers and collecting data concerning workplace sexual harassment and employees who identify as non-binary.

Companies’ results will be published on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency website.


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