Fair and equitable pay is a question of fundamental human rights and everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand should have the same opportunities to achieve their career aspirations. Closing pay gaps is the right thing to do.
Pay should reflect the level of skills, responsibilities, effort, experience and working conditions and not be negatively affected by gender or ethnicity. Work is underway in the Public Service to close gender, Māori, Pacific and ethnic pay gaps.
Gender, Māori, Pacific and ethnic pay gaps are indicators of workplace inequities. But it’s not just about pay. Factors that contribute to the pay gap are:
Taking action on gender pay gaps has also helped to close Māori, Pacific and ethnic pay gaps in the Public Service.
The Public Service Act 2020 calls for the Public Service to reflect the society it serves. Taking action to close gender, Māori, Pacific and ethnic pay gaps will help make Public Service workplaces fairer, and more diverse and inclusive.
The 2018-2020 Te Mahere Mahi mō te Rerekētanga o te Utu nā te Ira Tangata Gender Pay Gap Action Plan (The Plan) asked Public Service agencies to address workplace gender inequality in four key areas. The Plan recognised that pay gaps are driven by a combination of things like bias and discrimination, over-representation of women in low paid occupations, and under-representation in leadership. The success of this plan has contributed to a significant drop in the Public Service gender pay gap.
Read our Progress report on the Plan.
The gender pay gap fell from 12.2% in 2018 to 8.6% in 2021. Māori, Pacific and Asian pay gaps also fell over this same period.
This is a fantastic result but there is still more work to do. Women continue to be paid less that men in every ethnic group, and pay gaps for Māori, Pacific and ethnic women are wider than they are for European women.
The new Pay Gaps Action Plan builds on the achievements and success of the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan. It recognises that common barriers drive all pay gaps, with more targeted action needed to accelerate progress for wāhine Māori, Pacific women, and women from ethnic communities.
This Pay Gaps Action Plan is a collaborative initiative by the Taskforce, Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina/PSA, the Ministry for Women, Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, the Ministry for Ethnic Communities and Employee Led Networks.
The Gender Pay Principles provide a framework for creating working environments free from gender-based inequalities, based on collaborative action between agencies, employees and unions. Eliminating gender pay gaps is a key aim of the Principles.
Although this guidance has been developed with a focus on gender, it will help employers close all pay gaps and create fairer workplaces for all their employees.