‘Equal Pay Day’ highlights the gender pay gap

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31 August 2018

Today is ‘Equal Pay Day’, emphasising the fact that women must work the equivalent of an extra two months each year to earn the same annual pay as men.

Today’s date signifies that while a man takes a financial year to earn a year’s pay (July 1st to June 30th), on average a women would have to work through to August 31st to earn the same amount, an additional 62 days.

In 2018 the national gender pay gap is 14.6%, despite a 0.7% decrease on 2017 figures. This still equates to a dollar value of $244.80 per work for full-time employees.

The latest ABS data indicates that wages are higher for union workers versus non-union workers, and importantly, the gender pay gap is smaller for unionised women workers compared to their non-unionised counterparts.

The improved result signifies the excellent work the trade union movement has achieved to address gender inequality within workplaces in particular campaigns including:

  • Improving the bargaining power of women - to address the fact that women’s work is undervalued, and as such, women’s average full-time salaries are lower in every occupation and industry in Australia in comparison to men.
  • Equal pay –fighting for equal pay and higher wages for women who work in feminised industries, and undertaking equal remuneration cases with the Fair Work Commission
  • Domestic violence leave – achieving leave entitlements for women living with family and domestic violence.
  • Paid parental leave and family-friendly work arrangements – to address women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work.This includes the disruption to women’s participation in the workforce, which impacts on career progression and opportunities.

While this is the lowest gender pay gap in the past 20 years, there is still a long way to go in achieving equal pay for women.It is important to note that, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the average full-time salaries are lower for women than men in every occupation and industry in Australia.