Gender pay gap widens

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has found an increase in the gender pay gap and highlighted the need for employers to conduct regular pay audits to expose the disparity and provide a basis for rectifying it. This year Equal Pay Day fell on Tuesday 31 August and marks the 62 extra days (from June 30) women must work to earn the same as men.

The gender pay gap is something we are conscience of working in a female-dominated industry and it’s something we pursue in various claims when bargaining for new enterprise agreements, whether in the public, community or private sectors.

Unfortunately, the gender pay gap widened during the coronavirus pandemic, rising from 13.4% to 14.2%. It is very disappointing that women are not being paid more despite the pandemic. We hope WGEA findings act as an additional incentive for the State Government to deliver greater pay across the public sector.

The WGEA calculated the gender pay gap based on ABS Average Weekly Earnings data, which showed that full-time male workers earned $261.50 a week more than women (men earned an average of $1,837 and women $1575.50).

Of course, employers must do more to diminish the gender pay gap including by conducting regular gender pay audits. As the WGEA has pointed out, regular audits “close pay gaps faster”. To help you identify what the pay gap is for you, the Victorian Trades Hall Council has produced a pay gap calculator.

You can punch in your details at

The Federal Government can do more by recognising the persistent gender pay gap and make changes in our workplace system to address it. Sadly, the Morrison Government is doing very little to address the gender pay gap.

Not only that but it appears the Morrison Government doesn’t want to address sexual harassment within workplaces.

The Government relied on Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to defeat Labor and Greens amendments to the Respect@Work legislation that would have imposed a positive duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment.

It is particularly disappointing that the Morrison Government worked hard to scuttle legislation intended to help reduce the level of harassment women and others are experiencing in the nation’s parliament, rather than embrace change that would have helped protect women working in a notoriously dangerous workplace.

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