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Gender pay gap in the spotlight

Tuesday, Apr 4, 2017, by Sheryl Blythen

The gender pay gap has been in the spotlight for the past month, with new research released by the Ministry for Women, and new legislation aimed at ensuring equal pay set to go before parliament. Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett challenged private businesses to conduct gender audits of what they pay their employees and to publish the results, the New Zealand Herald reports. "It is simply unacceptable that women who contribute so significantly to business and the economy are paid less than men.” Read more In a speech to the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand to coincide with International Women’s Day, Minister Bennett said closing the gender pay gap was one of her top priorities as Minister for Women. She was sharing newly released research that shows that the difference in the earnings of men and women can’t be explained by differences in education, occupation, industry type or hours worked. The report, commissioned by the Ministry for Women, indicated that 80 per cent of the gender pay gap is caused by factors such as conscious and unconscious bias, and the differences in behaviour between men and women. Diversity Works NZ Chief Executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says these findings are in line with international research. Reducing the gender pay gap in New Zealand requires an integrated approach, and the Government and business community will need to rely on a variety of strategies, she says. Read more Simpson Grierson HR Director Jo Copeland shared some of the strategies the law firm has used to eliminate any pay gap within its workforce. Read more Debate on this issue looks unlikely to diminish with news late last month that Green MP Jan Logie’s Equal Pay Amendment Bill was drawn from the ballot and will go before parliament. The bill would require employers to record how much men and women are paid for the same job before passing that information on to Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

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