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Govt releases draft Pay Equity Bill

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/04/2017

The government has released a draft of its new Pay Equity Bill that sets up a framework for claims such as the one that led to this week's $2 billion settlement for care workers.

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse says it's a key step towards implementing recommendations from the joint working group which last year proposed a set of principles for raising and resolving pay equity claims through bargaining.

The government accepted those recommendations in November, which unions said was "a huge win for working women".

"Currently, the Equal Pay Act is not equipped to provide guidance on pay equity claims and needs to be updated to provide for a practical and fair process for employees to follow if they feel they are not being paid what their job is worth due to gender discrimination," Mr Woodhouse said.

"The draft Bill also provides principles for, and gives guidance on, how to choose comparable jobs and roles to judge Pay Equity claims."

Mr Woodhouse said he wanted public feedback on the bill, and first up was the Council of Trade Unions.

CTU president Richard Wagstaff said significant parts of it needed to be "fundamentally reviewed".

He said the way the bill proposes comparing jobs when pay equity is considered was at odds with the Equal Pay Act.

"This bill, as it stands, will trap many low-paid women on discriminatory wage rates."

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