Media Release 24 November 2016
One small step for Caregivers, one giant step for womankind
NZNO commends the New Zealand government for setting an international precedent by today agreeing a pathway for New Zealanders to achieve equal pay between various traditionally male and female jobs.
Over the year, unions have been presenting to government the struggle for equal pay for caregivers, most of whom are women. Historically traditional ‘women’s work’ has been underpaid and undervalued in New Zealand, which not only has been unfair but has caused women to leave their jobs.
“Today’s announcement that government agree that equal pay for women must be achieved and the setting out of the mechanisms to do that is welcome and a big step forward for New Zealand women,” said Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne
“The government agrees that there is a traditional, sexist bias against paying women proper pay for roles that are seen as ‘women’s work’ and it and the unions want this attitude to women workers stamped out.
“This commitment by government to enable people like Kristine Bartlett to be paid properly for their work means other hard working women won’t be forced to leave their profession as they are now.
“This is better for business and better for those being cared for. Being in a workplace where you are paid little more than the minimum wage when you are taking care of people’s parents and grandparents hour by hour, is demoralising and demeaning.
NZNO does not however support the government position of a hierarchy of comparators, believing that the most appropriate comparators should be used for each situation.
But says women in all sorts of jobs should now be able to draw on the skills and responsibilities they have in their jobs and compare them to men in similar roles and their union reps. can proactively and legally through the Employment Relations Authority work to close the gender pay gap.
“These equal pay principles are a victory for women and progressive for all men, women and children who live in a country proud of its gender equality values and forward thinking. The government has finally put their stamp of approval on equal pay principles and this clarifies and strengthens the 1972 Equal Pay Act,” she said.