Friday, August 11, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 11/8/23

Reporting on the gender pay gap will be compulsory – and when the bill to make it so is drafted, race gaps might be included

When we first checked the government’s official website earlier today, Ministerial trumpeting in the past 24 hours or so had come from three women in the Hipkins Cabinet and was pitched at drawing attention to the government’s promotion of the interests of women.

Economic Development Minister Barbara Edmonds is packing her bags to lead the first all-women trade mission to Australia this week, with a 26-strong business delegation.

The Minister for Women, Jan Tinetti, and Associate Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, announced reporting on gender pay gaps would be made compulsory (but not yet).

Around 900 entities with over 250 employees will be required to publicly report their gender pay gap, and later those with over 100 workers, Minister for Women Jan Tinetti and Associate Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Priyanca Radhakrishnan have announced.

Tinetti said:

“The reality is that women have different experiences in the workplace than men, and change is needed. Requiring companies to publish their gender pay gap will encourage them to address the drivers of those gaps and increase transparency for workers.

“This move is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to make New Zealand an equitable and desirable place for people to live, work, and do business.”

But is this policy being promoted for the benefit of Kiwi women – or to attract women workers from overseas?

“Countries we compare ourselves to including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have already successfully introduced gender pay gap reporting. We need to ensure we’re staying in line with international standards to attract highly skilled women to New Zealand and do what’s right as an inclusive and forward-thinking country,” Jan Tinetti said.

Then there’s the matter of when reporting the pay gap actually becomes compulsory.

“Today marks an important step to address inequity in the workplace. Initially, around 900 entities will be required to report their pay gap, and then after four years, this will increase to almost 2,700. Action plans will be voluntary at the start, and we will review this after three years to determine whether it needs to be made mandatory,” Associate Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

Besides the question of who would put money on Radhakrishnan being the Minister in charge of this in three years, Point of Order wondered about the timetable for making things compulsory.

A One News report helped sort things out.

The Government said it’s acting to close the gender pay gap by compelling hundreds of private companies report on pay equity, but hasn’t yet drafted the legislation to do it.

While reporting would be required, “action plans” would be voluntary.

The Government said it’s “made the decision to announce our plan” to introduce a gender pay gap reporting system “early in the process” so it could ensure wide-ranging input from stakeholders to “inform the design of the system before legislation outlining the system is drafted”.

There are three sitting weeks remaining in the current parliamentary term, the first of which is next week.

If drafted – and later passed – the legislation would require around 900 entities – those with over 250 employees – to report their gender pay gap, and later those with over 100 workers.

In her statement, Priyanca Radhakrishnan said the Government is busy thinking about what else might be included in the reports that record the pay gap.

It is committed to “exploring” the inclusion of ethnicity in pay gap reporting because Māori, Pacific peoples and other ethnic groups often face the compounding impact of both gender and ethnic pay gaps, she said.

And then she got around to mentioning the critical need for legislation.

“Through this next phase of consultation we’ll be able to consider the inclusion of ethnicity before legislation is drafted.

“We’ve made the decision to announce our plan to introduce a reporting system early in the process so we can ensure that we get wide ranging input from stakeholders to inform the design of the system before legislation outlining the system is drafted.”

Around 200 companies including Spark, Air New Zealand, My Food Bag, and Sharesies are already or committed to voluntarily reporting their gender pay gap.

The government will be engaging with them to learn from their experience and establish a universal model for reporting so there is consistency and guidance for employers and workers, Radhakrishnan said.

Since that statement and news of Barbara Edmonds’ trade mission were posted, two more announcements have been come from the Beehive – one tells of money being available (from taxpayers) for insulating homes; the other deals with trade frameworks.

Latest from the Beehive

11 AUGUST 2023

Homeowners are being encouraged to check their eligibility for the Government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme after changes to its eligibility criteria.

The Government has reconfirmed New Zealand’s commitment towards sustainable and inclusive trade with the release of our refreshed Trade, Environment, and Climate Change Framework and Trade and Labour Framework.

Economic Development Minister Barbara Edmonds will lead the first all-women trade mission to Australia this week, with a 26 strong business delegation.

Government action on pay transparency announced today marks a significant step in closing the pay gap for Kiwi women.

Explaining her travel plans, Barbara Edmonds said that while she is Melbourne she will attend several business engagements including an event with Aboriginal businesswomen and meet with the Governor of Victoria, Margaret Gardner.

Her statement was nicely stuffed with flim-flam to rationalize the case for a women-only trade mission:

“With our trans-Tasman relationship stronger than ever, it’s a great time to keep building on our trade momentum and continue providing greater economic security for New Zealanders,” Barbara Edmonds said.

“Australia is often the first place that our businesses look to when they start exporting. It’s our most popular export market with over 7,200 Kiwis exporting across the Tasman and our relationship worth over $29 billion in total trade value last year alone.

“Not only does our visit coincide with the top women’s sporting event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but it is a milestone for our economic ties. It marks the 40th anniversary of the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations, one of the most advanced free-trade agreements in the world.

“This mission allows us to raise the profile of New Zealand’s export offerings, add commercial value for our women exporters and bolster our brand in Australia.

“Bringing together an all-women trade mission will connect a diverse group of leaders from a wide range of sectors, including food and beverage, health products, technology and brand and marketing.

“The delegation features the very best of New Zealand innovation, sustainability, and a long-term commitment to the welfare of communities. We’re also fortunate to be joined by a number of Māori and Pacific delegates who promote indigenous economic growth and positive change in our region.

“I’m thrilled to be leading this historic trade mission to further show the world what Kiwi women in business can achieve.”

The delegation will be in Australia from 13 – 17 August.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Women want equality but we're quite happy to have an all women's trade delegation. Imagine someone taking a men only delegation.