New system begins on reporting gender equality at work
The reporting requirements of employers under the new gender equality in the workplace laws have been tabled in Parliament, the Minister for the Status of Women Julie Collins has announced today.
Ms Collins said the gender reporting requirements provide clarity for employers and are the result of a constructive consultation process led by eminent business leader Ms Carol Schwartz AM.
“The reporting requirements strike the right balance as we try to drive the cultural change necessary to achieve gender equality in the workplace,” Ms Collins said.
“They substantially reflect the views expressed to Ms Schwartz during her consultations with key stakeholders, including business groups, individual employers and unions.
“The new reporting will be simpler for employers – they will no longer be required to provide lengthy descriptions of their workplace programs.
“For the first time, the reports will contain actual data including the number of women and men in a workplace, what roles they fill and how much they are paid.
“These are the things that really count in terms of measuring the experiences of women and men in Australian workplaces,” Ms Collins said.
The reporting requirements are part of the Workplace Gender Equality Act passed by the Parliament last November and apply to employers with 100 or more employees.
The new simplified system comes into effect on April 1 and enables information to be gathered against six key gender equality indicators:
- Gender composition of the workforce
- Gender composition of governing bodies of employers
- Equal remuneration between women and men – information relating to base and total remuneration data by gender and workplace profile categories
- Availability and utility of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to flexible working arrangements for employees and to working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities
- Consultation with employees on issues concerning gender equality in the workplace
- Sex-based harassment and discrimination – information on whether sex-based harassment and discrimination prevention strategies or policies are in place.
Employers will be asked in a simple yes/no format a limited number of other questions around gender equality plans and strategies under each indicator.
“Employers will be able to see what is really happening in their workplaces, compare themselves to competitors in their industry and develop strategies in their own way,” Ms Collins said.
“The Government looks forward to continuing in partnership with employers, unions and women’s groups to further implement the workplace gender equality reforms.”
The Australian Government has almost doubled funding to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency to provide assistance to employers to reap the productivity and competitive benefits of gender equality in the workplace.
“The reporting requirements will be a valuable source of information which will eventually lead to a new appreciation of the gender issues in a workplace,” Ms Collins said.
“This will have significant impacts by increasing women’s ability to work and flexibility for women and men to help balance family and employment needs.”