Labor to Deliver Fair Pay & Conditions for Working Women

Labor Party

An Albanese Labor Government will make gender pay equity an objective of the Fair Work Act and strengthen the Fair Work Commission’s powers to order pay increases for workers in low paid, female-dominated industries.

One of the main causes of the gender pay gap is low pay and poor conditions in care sectors like aged care, early childhood education and care, and disability care – where the vast majority of workers are women.

Care work is undervalued, underpaid, and increasingly less secure. This is making it hard to attract the thousands of new care workers we need, and to keep those already working in the sector in their jobs.

Right now, our workplace relations system is struggling to deliver fair pay and conditions for working women and people in care sectors.

Equal remuneration provisions have been described as “costly, time-consuming, highly adversarial and overwhelmingly ineffective”. There have been 21 applications for equal remuneration orders since 1994 but only one successful order.

Labor will make sure our workplace relations system can deliver for working women by introducing a statutory Equal Remuneration Principle – like they have in Queensland – to guide the way the Commission considers equal pay cases.

We will also set up a new Care and Community Sector Expert Panel and a Pay Equity Expert Panel to strengthen expertise within the Commission on gender pay equity and care sector work.

The new Expert Panels will hear equal remuneration cases in relation to the Pay Equity Panel and award cases related to the care sector for the Care and Community Sector Expert Panel. The Panels will be backed by a dedicated research unit.

If we want to meet future demand for thousands more workers in care sectors, we need to offer secure jobs that are highly valued and fairly paid. Labor’s reforms will help deliver this.

Quotes attributable to Anthony Albanese:

“The principle that men and women should be paid the same wage for the same work is such an obvious one – and yet the gender pay gap is still far too wide. A government I lead will take steps toward closing this gap, ensuring women and those working in the care sector get the pay and conditions they deserve.”

Quotes attributable to Tony Burke:

“Only Labor will introduce a statutory Equal Remuneration Principle to ensure the Fair Work Commission is required to consider the need for equal pay for men and women. This comes on top of our reforms to tackle insecure work, which will help Australians get good, secure jobs.”

Quotes attributable to Tanya Plibersek:

“Women don’t want special treatment, they just want equality. Australian women have been continually let down by the Morrison Government. The Liberals have done next to nothing to address the gender pay gap over the last decade in office, and it’s clear they never will. Only Labor will act to improve pay equity in Australia.”

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