Equity & Equality

Why Australian Women Need to Work 65 Extra Days Each Year

WOMEN earn on average $285 less per week than men and retire with an average of $90,000 less in superannuation. 

The ACTU is calling on the Government to act now to build a better future for Australian women and close the gender pay gap.

“Women are facing outdated workplace practices and inadequate laws that make it difficult to return to work after having children,” said ACTU President Ged Kearney.

“Simultaneously cutting wages, penalty rates, parental leave and family support payments leaves low paid women and those with caring responsibilities in an impossible situation.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had threatened to remove access to paid parental leave from 80,000 new mothers, slash family tax benefits and attack the lowest paid women by reducing minimum wages and penalty rates.

And under the Government’s Fair Work Amendment Bill women will be forced to trade off their own entitlements in return for family friendly hours of work.

Time for a fair dinkum parental leave screen

“A fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme is the obligation that a serious political party owes to modern society – it’s clear he was not serious,” Ms Kearney said.

Australia’s workforce participation for women with young children is falling well below the global OECD average. To ensure the gender pay gap does not continue to grow the Government must act now on:

1. Improving the current Paid Parental Leave Scheme to ensure working parents have access to 26 weeks of government-funded paid leave.

2. Increasing funding for childcare and introducing new family friendly working arrangements for employees returning from parental leave.

3. Abandoning its plans to reduce family tax benefits.

4. Revoking Fair Work legislative proposals to allow employers to ask women to trade off wages and conditions in return for family friendly hours.

5. Boosting the Workplace Gender Equality legislation and reporting requirements.

6. Resisting calls to reduce minimum wages and cut penalty rates.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) says employers must act

WGEA Acting Director Louise McSorley said it was essential for employers to uncover and act on gender pay gaps in their own organisations.

“There are many ways to measure gender pay gaps but however you measure it, there is a significant pay gap in favour of men,” said Ms McSorley.

“Our CEO Pay Equity Ambassadors tell us bias can creep in to hiring, promotion and pay decisions unintentionally and so analysing pay data and taking corrective action is essential.”

Gender pay gap facts

(Source: Workplace Gender Equality Agency)

1. Using the latest Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the national gender pay gap is 17.9%, a difference of $284.20 in earnings per week.

2. The national gender pay gap is calculated using the traditional methodology of the difference between women’s and men’s wages, expressed as a percentage of men’s wages (and using ABS AWE data).

3. The gender pay gap is highest in Western Australia (26%) and lowest in South Australia (10.8%)

4. The gender pay gap is highest in financial services (30.5%) and lowest in in accommodation and food services (7%)

Article Source: Working Life

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