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Govt accepts pay equity recommendations

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/11/2016

The government has accepted pay equity recommendations from a joint working group and says it will amend the Employment Relations Act.

The Council of Trade Unions says the decision is "a huge win for working women".

The recommendations were released in June by the working group, which included government, employer and union representatives.

The recommendations set out principles for raising and resolving pay equity claims through bargaining.

Women will in future be able to file claims with their employers, rather than having to go through the courts.

"This is a major step forward for achieving pay equity in New Zealand," said Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse.

CTU president Richard Wagstaff says the government has committed to being on the right side of history.

"These principles provide a roadmap, a pathway, a practical way forward for working women to increase their pay if they believe they are not being fairly paid based on their gender," he said.

Women's Minister Louise Upston says occupations shouldn't be lower paid just because women make up most of the employees.

"The government's response today means that employees and employers can resolve concerns about equal pay in good faith."

The working group was set up after a landmark Court of Appeal ruling in the case of aged care worker Kristine Bartlett.

It upheld a 2013 Employment Court ruling that in female-dominated occupations the Equal Pay Act 1972 required equal pay for work of equal value.

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