Last week many organisations around the country celebrated International Women’s Day, however statistics show that there is still plenty of work to do to achieve true gender parity. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) report that Australia’s current national gender pay gap is 13.3%, meaning on average for every dollar mean earn, women earn 87 cents. Over the course of a year, this results in women earning an average of $13,182 less than men. Over 30 years, that equates to almost $400,000 less in the pockets of women, compared to men.
In the retail industry, the national gender pay gap is lower than the Australian average at 11.7%, and in the accommodation and food services industries, the gender pay gap is lower again at 8.5%. So whilst industries are trending in the right direction, we look to what changes the WGEA is implementing for reporting requirements in 2023.
What’s new in 2023?
In 2012, the Australian government introduced the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Act), which requires all on-public sector organizations with 100 or more employees to report annually on gender equality indicators. These indicators include gender composition, equal pay for equivalent work, and flexible work arrangements, among others.
The reporting period for 2023 is about to begin, with organisations who are required to report having between 1 April 2023 and 31 May 2023 to complete and submit their questionnaire, workforce management statistics, and workplace profile.
For employers used to using the WGEA reporting portal, you will notice a number of changes this year, including:
- The self-service portal allows employers to do more themselves, without having to reach out to the WGEA. We recommend employers use the build-up to the reporting period to ensure the contacts for their organisation are up to date.
- The reporting questionnaire is promised to be easier to navigate with data validation checks to highlight missing mandatory answers and an improved interface. Users will notice some new voluntary questions this year, many of which will become mandatory questions in next year’s reporting period.
- The workplace profile will no longer require information on ‘levels to the CEO’ as in previous years.
- The workforce management statistics will be simplified for corporate groups covering multiple industries.
What might the future hold?
Last month the Government introduced the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023 (Bill). If passed, the Bill will require the WGEA to publish the gender pay gap of relevant employers, in a bid to promote transparency and to encourage employers to take action to address the gender pay gaps within their organisations. Additionally, the CEO of relevant employers would be required to provide the executive summary and industry benchmark reports to all members of the governing body of their organisation.
Further, the Bill includes an expansion of the reporting requirements to include information on sexual harassment. The definition of gender equality indicators would now include ‘sexual harassment, harassment on the ground of sex, or discrimination’, meaning these are areas relevant employers may be required to report on in future.
These changes reflect a growing understanding of the importance of gender equality in the workplace and the need for a comprehensive approach to addressing inequality. By requiring organizations to report on their gender equality performance, these requirements provide a valuable tool for measuring progress and identifying areas for improvement.
To help members stay informed about the current changes, the National Retail Association is running a webinar on 27 April 2023. Presenter Amy Lynes, Senior Workplace Relations Consultant, has extensive hands-on experience with WGEA reporting requirements. During the webinar, you will gain valuable insights into the best practices for ensuring compliance with the WGEA requirements, as well as practical advice on how to implement gender diversity initiatives that support a more inclusive and equitable workplace.
The webinar is open to anyone interested in workplace gender equality reporting, including HR professionals, diversity and inclusion managers, and senior executives. It will be a valuable opportunity to learn from experts in the field and stay up to date on the latest developments.