Labor Wants Companies To Reveal Their Gender Pay Gap So That Everyone Can Judge Them

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already fired back at the idea.

gender pay gap labor

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Companies with over 1000 employees will be required to publicly reveal their gender pay gap as part of a searchable database if Labor is elected at the next election.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Labor is developing legislation that would punish corporations with pay disparities by barring them from government contracts. The policy would also ban contract clauses that demand employee’s hide their salaries from their colleagues.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to the reports this morning, tweeting that the gender pay gap had increased under Labor, and fallen under a Liberal government.

Earlier this year, the United Kingdom’s parliament pushed through similar legislation: companies with more than 250 employees had to declare the media hourly rate paid to female and male staff.

The policy attracted a lot of media attention, partly because all companies were required to declare their figures before a widely publicised deadline.

Well-known companies were implicated by the figures. Apple was forced to reveal that 71 percent of its highest-earning employees were men, Ryanair published that just three percent of the top quarter of earners in the company were women, and large lingerie group Boux Avenue had to defend a 75 percent wage gap.

In Australia, the gender pay gap sits at 14.6 percent: that is, the full-time average weekly ordinary earnings for women are 14.6 percent less than they are for men. The pay gap increases over our careers. When graduates leave university, women begin on salaries that are 1.8 percent less than their male counterparts.

The gender pay gap is also more pronounced in larger corporations. For companies with more than 100 employees, women receive 22.4 percent less cash than men.

These figures are updated annually by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, which already requires companies to report their pay gap data. Currently, this information isn’t available in a searchable database.

This policy announcement comes days after Labor pledged a $400 million superannuation boost for women, in an attempt to close the superannuation gender gap. Currently, women in Australia retire with 42 percent less superannuation than men.