Lawyers welcome measures to ensure greater public reporting on company gender pay gaps

23 September 2018
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have today welcomed an announcement from Federal Labor to ensure greater accountability for companies in addressing the gender pay gap, including increased public reporting and efforts to put an end to pay secrecy clauses.

Maurice Blackburn Board member Liberty Sanger, who also chairs the Equal Workplaces Advisory Council Victoria, said today’s announcements were an important step in improving accountability and providing greater information to employees about where they stand when it comes to pay, including those looking at prospective employers.

“We welcome today’s announcement that a Labor Government will seek to ensure that Australian companies with more than 1,000 employees will have to publicly report on any gender pay gaps within their organisations,” Ms Sanger said.

“All companies should be undertaking gender pay audits as a priority to get an honest assessment on any pay gaps that may exist within their workplace, as well as ensuring that these are reported to boards and directors to be acted on.

“We also support measures to ensure that the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) can publish lists of companies that have completed a gender pay gap audit – a further important step in making sure that companies actually do undertake pay audits to know if they have a pay gap that needs to be addressed.

“Seeking greater public accountability from companies on gender pay gaps we believe will also provide a much-needed incentive to drive change, as well as providing increased transparency for current and future employees about gender pay equity within their workplace.

“Measures announced today to prohibit pay secrecy clauses to allow employees to disclose or speak about their pay if they wish are also welcome, and if enacted follows the lead of the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Our firm has implemented this same measure for our staff and it is something we would urge all companies to act on in supporting open discussions on pay for employees.

“There is still a long way to go to close the gender pay gap once and for all, but steps such as those outlined today we believe will help to make a difference, particularly in forcing companies to play a greater role in identifying pay gaps to act on these.

“Too often, inequality thrives in the shadows of secrecy. Pay transparency is essential to ensuring that all of us reach our pay potential,” she said.