Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Building a Better Equal Remuneration Case

Nowadays, it doesn’t seem like a week goes by without an article about the gender pay gap. I saw earlier this week that the Fair Work Commission has engaged researchers to prepare an equal remuneration report. Apart from discussing the concept of undervaluation (of labour), part of the intended scope of this report is to identify the usefulness of the various materials parties could bring to equal remunerations proceedings, and direct parties to key resources which may be relevant to an equal remuneration case. This report is intended to build on previous research for the Commission on this topic.

This all sounds pretty useful. As I’ve said before, determining whether or not specific groups of women and men are ‘undervalued’ in terms of their remuneration is not easy. This research will hopefully have a significant impact in terms of giving parties a base of knowledge and evidence to draw upon for future equal remuneration cases.  Regardless of what decisions are made for such cases in future, this should help in strengthening the claims that underlie such decisions.

What this report will probably not do though is expand the set of resources that are available. In the short-term, that is primarily being left to the Commission’s Australian Workplace Relations Survey. As I said last time I wrote on this topic, I’m not sure that as much of the Commission’s resources are specifically going towards expanding the resources relating to pay equity as originally envisioned by the (former) Government. However, in terms of better using the available information, this latest equal remuneration report looks like it will make a positive contribution.

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