Employment equity

One aspect of creating inclusive workplaces is addressing unjustified inequities in remuneration; whether they be on the basis of gender or ethnicity. This includes action to correct disparities in remuneration between male and female dominated occupational groups, where these occupational groups perform work of equal value. It also includes action to correct other sources of inequality that result in the overall gender pay gap.

Te Rōpū Whakarite Utu Ira Tangata | The Gender Pay Taskforce (the Taskforce) has continued to lead actions to reduce the Public Service gender pay gap through Te Mahere Mahi Rerekētanga Ira Tangata | Gender Pay Gap Action Plan (the Action Plan) and supporting the efficient progress of pay equity claims. The Taskforce’s work to create fairer workplaces for women was recognised when it won the national Diversity Works NZ™ Impact Award. In recognition of COVID-19-related pressures, agencies focused on the Action Plan priority area of equal pay in 2020. All agencies confirmed they have closed any pay gaps within the same or similar roles (like-for-like). To support transparency and accountability and to help create exemplars for other sectors, 100 percent of agencies have now published their agency gender pay gap action plans on their websites.

Flexible-work-by-default is a key focus area of the Public Service Gender Pay Gap Action Plan, and agencies have made significant progress, hastened by Covid-19 and the need to work remotely during lockdown. In collaboration with unions and agencies, the Gender Pay Taskforce released comprehensive guidance on flexible working, supplemented by case studies illustrating the wide range of flexible working options and their application in different workforces, including the New Zealand Police. The 23 agencies in our flexible work pilot group, established in 2018, have shared their experiences and worked together to develop solutions that can apply across the system. All agencies are now implementing flexible work by default. The Taskforce is looking to international literature to understand how flexible work can especially support closing pay gaps for wāhine Māori, Pacific women, and women from smaller ethnic groups.

A blue arrow facing right, which says 100% of agencies: now have flexible work by default policies; publish annual gender pay gap action plans; have completed pay reviews for employees in the same or similar roles
  • now have flexible work by default policies
  • publish annual gender pay gap action plans
  • have completed pay reviews for employees in the same or similar roles.


The Taskforce has also released a suite of guidance on eliminating workplace drivers of gender pay gaps, providing pay equity education and supporting best practice for pay equity claims processes. This guidance was developed in close consultation with the PSA and New Zealand Council of Trade Unions. The Taskforce also collaborated with the Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion team to release guidance on measuring and analysing Māori and ethnic pay gaps for the Public Service to help agencies focus on this priority area. Now, the Taskforce is using its pay equity expertise and experience to support the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to develop pay equity tools and resources for the wider economy.

In terms of pay equity successes, a fourth pay equity claim, for teacher aides, was settled, and the Equal Pay Act 1972 was amended to include an accessible framework for achieving pay equity. We also appointed a Public Service pay equity system lead to assist with the delivery of equal pay and the elimination of pay discrimination across the Public Service.

Pay equity settlements have so far resulted in significant pay corrections for more than 80,000 employees, and there are currently 22 pay equity claims underway in the public sector.

A light blue circle with dark blue text: 80,000 employees have had pay corrections through pay equity settlements

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