We believe every person in New Zealand deserves to be paid fairly for the work that they do.
Simple as that.
The NZ Equal Pay act was passed in 1972 and says that men and women need to be paid the same. But last year women still earned, on average, at least 12 % less than men. Over a working lifetime, that’s a lot of difference.
Women take care of New Zealand’s elderly, they teach and care for our children and they work to support the most vulnerable of our society. There are whole sectors that are dominated by women who are paid consistently low wages.
These women’s vital work has been undervalued as “women’s work”, something women are just naturally good at and don’t need to be paid much for. That's not fair.
What are the principles?
In 2012 an aged care worker called Kristine Bartlett said this isn’t right and took a case to the courts. Kristine said that she and all her co-workers received a low wage because the work they do is considered women’s work and not valued properly.
She said that the law is equal pay for work of equal value, and that she should be paid the same as a man in a male dominated industry doing the same sized job.
The Employment Court, and then the Court of Appeal, agreed.
After the courts agreed with Kristine, the government set up a group to figure out the best way to put equal pay for work of equal value into practice. The group of employer, government and union representatives came back with a set of principles for everybody to follow.
The principles mean that employees in female dominated industries, whose work has been undervalued because it was always done by women, can bring a claim to their employer. The employee and employer can then sit down and use the principles to negotiate a fair solution.
What happens next?
The next step is to make the principles that everyone agreed to part of the law. Thousands of people have put an enormous amount of work into getting this far. The working party have already done the hard yards of designing the process.
Now, the Government needs to put that work into the law. We need those principles to be put into place, and we need a government body to help enforce this labour standard.
It's 2017 and government are about to get back to work. It’s only fair that, come Tuesday 7th February, Paula Bennett puts the equal pay principles at the top of the list.