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Equal pay matters

Equal pay for work of equal or comparable value is a basic human right. Regardless of where we work – or our sex, gender, race, age, abilities or care-giving status – we are all entitled to be paid and treated fairly at work.

 

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About equal pay mattersEducational resources

What is Equal Pay?

Equal pay for work of equal or comparable value is a basic human right. Regardless of where we work – or our sex, gender, race, age, abilities or care-giving status – we are all entitled to be paid and treated fairly at work.

Yet, every year, Victorian, national and international data confirm that some workers are not paid equally for their work.

What drives unequal pay?

Unequal pay is driven by gender bias and sex discrimination and the historical and systemic undervaluing of work traditionally associated with women.

There is also widespread industry and occupational segregation resulting in high concentrations of women in low paid jobs.

Why does it matter?

Businesses who do not pay their workers fairly and equally may struggle, among other things, to attract and retain diverse and talented staff. Lower labour force participation from women, in part occasioned by unequal pay, also weakens the Australian economy overall.

By contrast, equal pay delivers broad-ranging benefits. It ensures that individual workers are remunerated fairly for their skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions. It contributes to a fair, respectful and equal society and it makes good business sense.

Supporting small-to-medium enterprises to achieve equal pay

Much of the available research on gender pay inequality has focused on large organisations, with comparatively less known about the nature, scale or drivers of pay inequality in small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), despite these organisations being required by Victorian, national and international law to pay workers equally for work of equal or comparable value.

Therefore, Industrial Relations Victoria, supported by the Equal Workplaces Advisory Council, engaged the Commission to research and support Equal Pay in SMEs.

Achieving gender pay equality in SMEs requires a tailored response that addresses their distinctive characteristics and the barriers they face to equal pay, avoiding a ‘watered-down’ or ‘simpler’ approach of what is expected of large organisations.

Such an approach should enable SMEs to take appropriate and achievable measures to advance equal pay and reflect considerations likely to persuade them to deliver on this vision.

Resources

You may also be interested in

Gender Equality Action Plan

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Address
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

General enquiries
enquiries@veohrc.vic.gov.au

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1300 891 848

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1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

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1300 152 494

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The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission stands on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung Peoples of the Kulin Nation. We recognise their cultures, histories, diversity and deep connection to this land and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

Sovereignty has never been ceded – this land always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.