Mandatory pay gap reporting the right move – CA ANZ

Making gender pay gap reporting mandatory for employers with more than 250 employees is the right move and a robust framework and methodology will drive better social and economic outcomes, says Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand NZ Country Head Peter Vial.

A statement from the accounting body says it appeared at the Education and Workforce Select Committee’s briefing into pay transparency in November 2021, sharing the profession’s work to address its gender pay gap, including its measurement and action tools in the CA ANZ Gender Pay Gap Playbook and highlighting the benefits of mandatory reporting.

Vial  says that robust pay gap reporting will drive transparency and accountability and result in fairer outcomes for women.

“It will highlight the challenges many women face in their career pathways. Closing the pay gap will also address the disparity in retirement earnings between men and women.”

He says too that it will increase transparency for employees, jobseekers and investors. 

“The saying ‘what gets measured gets done, and what gets reported gets prioritised’ strongly applies here.

“A consistent framework will remove any argument about how the gap is calculated and enable regular comparison and benchmarking, as we see in Australia.”

Vial notes that there is often confusion about exactly what a gender pay gap is.

“A gender pay gap is the difference in the average earnings of men and women across all roles in a workforce. Equal pay for equal work is different to the gender pay gap and paying unequally for equal work has been illegal since the 1970s. Gender pay gaps typically demonstrate that women are under-represented in higher paid roles, and often fall behind when they take career breaks.

“The more society understands what a gender pay gap is, what it represents, and how we can address it, the better off we will be.”

He adds that international research shows a direct causal relationship between the introduction of mandatory pay gap reporting regimes and the reduction in gender pay gaps.

In Australia the Workplace Gender Equality Agency was established under the Workplace Gender Equality Act in 2012. Since 2014, when mandatory reporting was introduced for entities with over 100 employees, there has been a steady decline in the gap.

“It’s important that the compliance burden on employers is not excessive, because there will be real benefit in the transparency this reporting provides,” Vial says.

“Given our profession’s expertise in reporting, we would welcome the opportunity to help the government develop the reporting framework so that it is simple and effective.”

 

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