General policy statement
This Bill is an omnibus bill. It amends 2 Acts. The purpose is to remove discrimination in pay rates between men and women in the same jobs by making publicly available statistical information relating to their rates of remuneration. The 2 Acts are—
the Equal Pay Act 1972. The amendment to this Act requires all employers to deliver the information that they collect under section 130(1) of the Employment Relations Act 2000 to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for publication in statistical form:
the Employment Relations Act 2000. The amendment to this Act requires an employer to record the gender of the employee under section 130(1)(a).
The Equal Pay Act 1972 provides for the removal and prevention of discrimination, based on the sex of the employees, and the rates of remuneration of males and females in paid employment. However, nearly 40 years after its implementation, there is insufficient information in the public domain about rates of remuneration for men and women in the same jobs and sectors to be sure that this discrimination has truly been removed.
This Bill seeks to increase the amount of information publicly available so that cases where this discrimination persists can be clearly identified.
This Bill seeks to make that information available in 2 ways. Firstly, this Bill requires every employer to deliver annually the information they collect under section 130 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for publication in statistical form. Second, any employee can demand their employer to provide the information.
Further, if an employer considers that the confidentiality of the information cannot be maintained the employer must give the information to an independent reviewer.
It is intended that making this information available will improve the likelihood of successful cases to be taken under the Equal Pay Act 1972 to seek remedies when such discrimination exists.
This Bill also provides that any employer who fails or refuses to modify or eliminate pay rates or practices in contravention of the Equal Pay Act 1972 would be in breach of the good faith requirement under section 4 of the Employment Relations Act 2000.