Time for Australian Firms to Reveal Gender Pay Gap Under Labor Plan

(Bloomberg) -- Australian companies with more than 1,000 employees would be forced to publicly reveal how much they pay women compared to men under an opposition Labor Party proposal to help reduce the gender pay gap.

The party would legislate the measure as well as change the Fair Work Act to “prohibit pay secrecy” and give employees the right to disclose or not disclose how much they earn, according to a joint statement from Tanya Plibersek, deputy opposition leader and spokeswoman for women, and Brendan O’Connor, Labor’s spokesman for employment and workplace relations. The gender pay gap is still too high, with women working full time getting paid almost 15 percent less than men on average, Plibersek and O’Connor said.

Under the plan, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency would be required to publish a list that shows whether a company with more than 1,000 employees had undertaken a gender pay gap audit and reported the results to its board, according to the statement.

“Companies already report their gender pay data to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Labor will make it public,” the opposition shadow ministers said. People will be able to search a gender pay equity portal.

The Labor Party has been leading the ruling Liberal-National coalition in recent polls, ahead of an election due by May.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sunday that under the government, the gender pay gap had been reduced to 14.5 percent from 17.2 percent, but agreed that more work needed to be done.

“The way I want to do that is by getting everybody to work together,” Morrison told reporters. “I don’t want to set one set of employees against another. I don’t want to create tensions and anger and anxiety in the workplace. This idea of shaming, I don’t think that’s how you get people to work together.”

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