Big business required to report on gender pay gaps
Businesses with 100 or more employees are required to disclose their gender pay gap to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).
This comes as a result of the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023 passing Federal Parliament on 30 March 2023. The legislation was put forward in February.
The Closing the Gap Bill made amendments to the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (WGE Act).
The Bill aims to amend the WGE Act to boost pay gap transparency, encourage action to close gender pay gaps with organisations and implement certain recommendations of the 2021 Review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
It also aims to improve accountability for equality between genders in the workplace, by requiring CEOs to share certain information provided by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) to their board/governing body and shareholders.
“These changes appear to be coming from a similar place to the recent Fair Work Act amendments; the government is focused on closing the gaps through facilitating greater accountability and transparency when it comes to pay,” said CCIWA’s Employment Relations Advice Centre manager Siobhan Griffiths.
“It is important for businesses to get on the front foot now, by reviewing their existing systems, structures and internal data collection methods, and take any relevant measures needed before these changes come into effect.”
Changes for employers:
Sharing of reports to board or governing body
From late 2023, employers are required to share the WGEA Executive Summary and Industry Benchmark report with their board or governing body and report the date they were shared. WGEA already provides these reports to CEOs and reporting contacts.
Reporting on CEO remuneration
From April 2024, employers must report CEO renumeration to WGEA. Many companies provide this information to WGEA already. As with all remuneration data collected by WGEA, individual CEO pay information will be confidential.
As almost 80% all Australian CEOs are men and CEOs are usually the highest paid employees, WGEA expects the inclusion of CEO renumeration to significantly impact employer mean gender pay gaps. For this reason, WGEA states it will only publish both mean and median employer gender pay gaps once is receives CEO pay information.
This does not include renumeration for company partners, as WGEA doesn’t classify partners as employees and therefore are not included in its dataset.
Sexual harassment or discrimination reporting
From April 2024, reporting will be required on prevention and response to sexual harassment, harassment on the grounds of sex or discrimination in the workplace. Employers who do not currently collect this data have time to prepare with new reporting questions in 2023 to be asked on a voluntary basis.
Gender equality indicator policies for large businesses
Organisations of 500 or more staff are required to have policies or strategies covering all six gender equality indictors, starting in April 2024.
WGEA to publish employer gender pay gaps
From late 2024-early 2025, WGEA will publish employer gender pay gaps in addition to publishing the gender pay gap at a national, industry and occupational level.
WGEA states international experience has shown publishing employer gender pay gaps can lead companies to prioritise gender equality and lower employer gender pay gaps.
Employers will be informed of their organisational gender pay gap well in advance of it being made public. Organisations will have the opportunity to provide a statement to give context on their gender pay gap results or outline their plan for action – based on the fact external or internal factors can influence results and may not provide a complete picture of an organisation’s commitment to gender pay equality.