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DiscriminationSeptember 5, 2014
Today is Equal Pay Day however women all over the country are not celebrating. The gap in financial gender equality is the worst it’s been in 20 years. Australian women are paid 18.2% less than men, that is an average of $14,726 each year. Some women tackle each working day knowing that their counterpart will earn much more than them for their entire career.
Young women entering the workforce may find themselves not in a financial position to leave work and start a family, or on the other end of the spectrum not having a big enough superfund to be able to retire. Councillor Jan Farrell said that at this current time, “women in South Africa, Cuba, Burundi, the Philippines and Lesotho all enjoy greater equality than Australian women.”
Employers of larger companies are more likely to offer female and family friendly workplaces, flexible working arrangements and paid parental leave schemes. Businesses with 20 or less employees are more restricted and struggle to have procedures to enable mothers or fathers to work more flexible hours or to work from home for example.
The price of respectable childcare is leaving more women out of the workforce and this is not supporting the reduction in the gender equality gap. Women who take unpaid extended maternity or parental leave battle with an existing stigma that their skill set has not developed like their male colleagues or their career has been paused and after years, find it more difficult to re-enter the workforce. Tony Abbott told the Sunday Herald Sun “If we are going to give the modern woman a real choice to have both a career and a family, we really need to give them a fair-dinkum paid parental leave scheme so that they can take some serious time off work without blowing up the family budget and also without detracting from their career prospects.”
Women should not be forced to decide between starting a family and earning a fair pay packet. Ms Sandra Cook the chair of Economic Security4Women put it right, “We want to support the employers who value their female staff and offer them ways to provide female friendly and family friendly workplaces. After all, increasing the workforce participation of women will increase the nation’s productivity; good for business, good for all”.
If you would like to close the gender gap and review your businesses current parental leave and pay policies or if you would like to consider implementing flexible work arrangements for your employees contact Employsure on 1300 651 415 or fill out the form below. If you are a small business and would like advice on how you could help to implement these policies we have the answers.
*Information sourced via Australian Gov Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Herald Sun, Economic Security4Women website, @EqualPayDay and Geelong weekly advertiser.