Government statement on equal pay legislation

The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway, and the Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, on Wednesday reaffirmed the new Government’s commitment to halting the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill that was introduced by the previous Government.

“All three Government parties were clear during the Bill’s first reading that we were opposed to the legislation, and that we would not rest until New Zealand workers have genuine opportunities for pay equity,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

“While both sides of the House seemed united in lauding the TerraNova decision in favour of care and support workers and Kristine Bartlett, the previous Government immediately introduced legislation that fundamentally changed the ability of anyone else to achieve the same result.

“The current legislation diminishes the opportunity for people to make a pay equity claim, and we were clear that if we were elected then it would be the end of the line for this Bill. We were, and it is.

“The Government will stop progress on the Employment (Equal Pay and Pay Equity) Bill and start work on new legislation that adheres to all the principles of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, says National’s legislation was deliberately designed to put barriers in the way of women who wish to make a pay equity claim.

“Women in New Zealand should know this Government is committed to women getting a better deal, that’s why we are halting the National Government’s legislation,” says Ms Genter.

“The care and support workers settlement would not have gone ahead if National’s legislation had been in place. It put significant hurdles in the way of women trying to achieve pay equity. This is not acceptable in New Zealand in 2017.

“This Government commits to valuing women in the workplace and valuing vocations that have traditionally been women’s work: the work that provides for others, cares for people who need care – the work that for too long has been mostly around minimum wage standards.

“The existing Bill aimed to apply retrospectively, which would have been unfair to the up to eight groups of women currently making pay equity claims. We will do better by all women,” says Julie Anne Genter.