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The New Legislative Changes Concerning the Gender Pay Gap

Another legislation change? Zoe van der Merwe, takes you through the new Bill that hopes to address the ever present issue in Australia of the gender pay gap.


On February 8 of 2023, the Labour Government introduced The Workplace Gender Equality Amendment Bill into Parliament, in an effort to deliver on their election commitment to help close the gender pay gap. [1] The bill will publish the gender pay gaps of employers with a 100 or more workers, to “drive transparency and action” by organisations in their workplaces. [2]


Senator Katy Gallagher, Minister for Women, stated that, “on average, women working fulltime can expect to earn 14.1% less than men per week in their pay packets.” She noted the, “$51.8 billion a year lost when it [came] to women’s pay,” calling for immediate action on the issue. [3]


However, with the introduction of these new legislative reforms comes some concern over the generalised nature of the data that will be published. Mark Humphery-Jenner, an Associate Professor of Finance at UNSW Sydney, stated that the aggregate information required by the amendment, would not help in understanding the extent of the gender pay gap. He stated that while a good starting point, allowing companies to report on other relevant factors such as qualifications, skills and productivity, could provide more opportunity for sophisticated analysis, revealing how the gap arises and ways it may be solved. [4]


Reporting by workplaces on the gender pay gap will start in 2024, using data already provided by employers. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency website is where all data will be published. [5]


The bill comes in direct response to the Review in 2021 of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, and time will tell if the policy reforms indeed make a difference. [6]



[1] “Albanese Government Delivers Legislation to Help Close The Gender Pay Gap.” Ministers’ Media Centre, 8 Feb. 2023, https://ministers. pmc.gov.au/gallagher/2023/albanese-government-delivers-legislation-help-close-gender-pay-gap. Media Release.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Humphery-Jenner, Mark. “Australia’s New Pay Equality Law Risks Failing Women – Unless We Make This Simple Fix.” The Conversation, 10 Feb. 2023, https://theconversation.com/australias-new-pay-equality-law-risks-failing-women-unless-we-make-this-simple-fix-199587.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

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