A reminder for organisations with Workplace Gender Equality reporting obligations i.e. non public sector with 100 or more employees, that the deadline for reporting is 31 May 2018. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) released statistics for the previous reporting year in February 2018. The key gender pay gap statistics are:

  • Australia's full time gender pay gap is 15.3%;
  • the average full time weekly earnings for a woman are $1,409.00 compared with $1,662.70 for men;
  • the state with the highest pay gap disparity is Western Australia with 22.5%;
  • the state with the lowest pay gap disparity is South Australia with 10.3%; and
  • the industry with the highest disparity is the financial and insurance services industry.

How does Australia compare with the rest of the world?

The World Economic Forum released a Gender Pay Gap report in October 2017. Iceland, Norway and Finland lead the way, with New Zealand placing number 9 and Australia number 35. In relation to the measure of wage equality for similar work, Australia ranked 62 out of 144 countries.

The World Economic Forum has noted that "while much of this imbalance is explained by the discrepancy in caregiving and unpaid work, institutional and policy inertia, outdated organizational structures and discrimination, one additional explanatory factor is the skills differentials in the types of degrees women and men seek out in their education."

What are the minimum standards?

Interestingly, although the Workplace General Equality Act 2012 (Cth) requires employees with over 100 employees to report, the minimum standards are imposed on employers with over 500 employees, providing that such employers:

  • must put policies or strategies in place to support one or more of the gender equality indicators specified in column 1 of the following table; and
  • the policies or strategies put in place must aim to achieve the particular objective for a gender equality indicator specified in the corresponding column 2 of the table.

Consequences for non-compliant employers

  • The WGEA may name a non-compliant employer in a report to the Minister or by
  • electronic or other means Non-compliant employers may not be eligible to tender for contracts under the
  • Commonwealth and some state procurement frameworks and may not be eligible for some Commonwealth grants or other financial assistance.