Women in Super welcomes the news that a bill to put an end to so-called “gag clauses” that prevent private sector employees talking about their salaries was introduced in parliament. We thank Sen. Larissa Waters for supporting a practical measure to do away with the secrecy that surrounds salaries. The gender pay gap is currently at a 20-year high of 18.8 per cent according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. It is not acceptable in this day and age that the average woman needs to work an extra 66 days a year to take home the same amount of pay as the average man.

Under the new bill employees do not have to divulge their pay but they will not be penalised if they do. Pay secrecy can help mask instances where two people are paid differently for doing the same job. By being transparent in setting and paying salaries it is hoped that any unconscious bias and subjective decision making processes that can enable ‘extras’ to creep into salaries overtime, will be substantially reduced.

Coupled with the release of the senate inquiry in August into economic security for women in retirement, where the gender gap sits at an appalling 46.6%, it is really pleasing to note that concerted efforts are being made to finally shine a light on these two big gender gaps – the pay and superannuation gaps. It is vitally important that as a country we address these serious issues and introduce practical measures to overcome existing barriers to enable women and their families to benefit from their increased workforce participation and to provide women with access to adequate and secure retirement incomes.

Overcoming the gender pay gap will not overcome the gender super gap as there are specific issues such as caring responsibilities which exacerbate the latter. However, this is a big step in the right direction.

To read more about the bill, click here


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