Posted on: Sep 25, 2018
25 September 2018: The Equal Pay Amendment Bill has been introduced to Parliament on the 125 year anniversary of women getting the vote. The Bill provides employees with the right to make a pay equity claim and sets out the process for the parties to follow if a claim has merit. The Bill specifies that a claim will have merit if it relates to work predominantly performed by women and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the work has historically or currently is undervalued. The commentary has made it clear that an employee will have a low threshold to meet for raising a claim
The Bill aims to:
- Establish a process for making and resolving pay equity claims;
- Prohibit differentiation based on sex in the rate of pay offered to employees for work that is predominately performed by women which has been historically and remains currently undervalued;
- Retain employees rights to raise claims relating to sex discrimination in employment (for matters unrelated to pay equity);
- Set out the process for resolving a pay equity claim that is simple and accessible;
- Permit the courts or the Employment Relations Authority to award an amount of back pay in a pay equity determination.
Under this Bill, if a claim has merit, the employer and employee are required to enter into a pay equity bargaining process to agree a settlement comprising of remuneration and any other terms and conditions of employment. Pay equity bargaining ordinarily must involve an assessment of work performed by male comparable positions in the same or substantially similar work, work performed by males in different work which has comparable skills, experience, responsibilities, working conditions or degrees of effort, or, any other comparator which the parties or Authority consider relevant.
The Bill enables parties to apply to the Employment Relations Authority for a determination that fixes terms and conditions of employment if all other reasonable alternatives for settling the pay equity claim have been exhausted.
One important aspect of this Bill is that it specifies that collective bargaining and the pay equity claim process are distinct. This means the provisions in the Employment Relations Act 2000 relating to collective bargaining would not apply to pay equity claims made under the Bill, therefore should not form any part of the collective bargaining process.
We will keep you updated on any developments with the progress of this Bill.
You can read the Bill here.
This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.