WHY does Equal Pay Day fall on a different day every year?
BECAUSE the date is determined by the extra number of days women need to work to earn the same as men in a financial year. In 2015, that’s 65 more days.
With the inauspicious occasion falling on Friday, the national Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is urging employers to have a good, hard look at their own pay office data.
“Employers are often surprised to discover they aren’t paying male and female employees in the same or comparable role equally,” said the agency’s acting director, Louise McSorley.
“Bias can creep into hiring, promotion and pay decisions unintentionally, and so analysing pay data and taking corrective action is essential.”
The national gender pay gap, currently at 17.9 per cent or a $284.20 difference a week, is a symbolic indicator of the overall position of women in the workforce.
Based on average weekly earnings figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in August every year, the figure is not a direct like-for-like comparison of what men and women earn in the same role, but an overall indicator.
The WGEA says it can reflect a number of issues, including wage differences between male and female-dominated industries, a lack of women in senior roles, women’s unpaid caring duties, and discrimination.
Nationally, the rift has barely budged from around 18 per cent in the past few years, while in wealthy states like Western Australia and NSW the situation has gone backwards, with men earning even more this year than last year.
Western Australian blokes earn $483.80 more than women in a week, while in NSW they earn an extra $316.60.
An ANZ report released in July found full-time working women earn $700,000 less than men over their lifetime.
“This is largely because they are paid less for the same work and they often revert to part-time jobs to assume child rearing or family responsibilities at some point in their lives,” said the ANZ Women’s Report: Barriers to Achieving Gender Equity.
In one of her last addresses as Sex Discrimination Commissioner on Wednesday, Elizabeth Broderick also urged companies to put in place targets for women leadership, saying there were more people named Peter running Australian companies than women.