Women’s pay equity going backwards, says Macklin

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Women’s pay equity going backwards, says Macklin

Pay equity for women is going backwards in Australia, ALP Deputy leader Jenny Macklin has told a women’s conference in Sydney.

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Pay equity for women is going backwards in Australia, ALP Deputy leader Jenny Macklin has told a women’s conference in Sydney.

Macklin told the 17th Women, Management and Employment Relations Conference (Sydney, 21-22 July) that the wages gap between women and men was $230 a week when the Howard Government took office, and ‘now it is $308’.

‘Women’s total wage is 66% of men’s total wage,’ she said, ‘because women are concentrated in low paid and casual jobs.

‘Women get about 90% of men’s pay on collective agreements, but about 20-25% less on AWAs.

‘Girls outnumber boys in year 12 completion, but the wage gap is still increasing.’

Working women - numbers increase

Macklin said there were more women in the paid workforce than ever before.

‘More mothers returning to the workforce, about 70% of mothers back in work before their kids reach that age of three,’ she said.

Macklin said one of the objectives of the IR changes is to get more people on individual contracts.

‘Few individual contracts are family friendly in such matters as flexible work time,’ she said. ‘Overtime and penalty rates are under threat.

‘I have seen an individual contract for a WA apprentice in the hospitality area which has a $6.90 an hour all up rate - and most young apprentices in this area are women.’

Macklin said if the setting of the minimum wage is no longer the responsibility of the AIRC and goes to a government-appointed body [the Fair Pay Commission], the 1.5 million people dependent on the minimum wage ‘will go backwards’.

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