E tū: proposed Equal Pay bill is not justice for women

E tū says the equal pay settlement announced this week may be the last unless the government changes its draft bill related to future equal pay claims.

E tū took the equal pay case on behalf of Kristine Bartlett, which this week culminated in a $2 billion settlement offer for care and support workers in Aged Care, Disability Services, and Home Support.

E tū’s Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall says if the bill is not changed, women would face too many hurdles to achieve equal pay.

He says the problem is Section 23 of the draft bill, related to identifying suitable comparators i.e. wages earned by men who perform work with similar experience, skills, and responsibility.

“It does that by forcing women, through their unions, to firstly identify appropriate male comparators in their employer’s business; then similar businesses to their employer; then the same sector or industry, and only then can they use comparators from outside their industry.

“This is obviously intended to hugely slow down equal pay claims.

“In the care and support negotiations, the Government and the unions did not agree on any single comparator, but did take several comparators into account during negotiations.  

“If we had been forced to go through the hierarchy of comparators as set out in this draft bill then we would never have reached a settlement.”

John says the bill needs to be rewritten to reflect the Report of the Joint Working Party on Pay Equity as well as the Court of Appeal’s approach to comparators in the Terranova case.

He warns the government will feel the wrath of New Zealand women if the bill hobbles their ability to win fair pay. 

“Women across the country are celebrating this week’s equal pay settlement. They will be furious if the government doesn’t get this right.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

John Ryall E tū Assistant National Secretary ph. 027 520 1380