UnionsWA has today commented on the release of data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that measures the gender pay gap. Other data released by the ABS yesterday points to the impact of low pay rises in WA in the public sector contributing to the poor pay outcomes for women in WA.
Lisa Judge, Assistant Secretary UnionsWA said:
“WA continues to have the worst gender pay gap in Australia, with typical earnings for women being 21.9% below men compared with 14.2% nationally.
“While working women in WA have seen some improvement with the gender pay gap closing by 3.7% over the three years to 2018, in the three years since then, it has closed by only 0.5%.
“A significant factor in the failure of women’s pay to rise significantly has been the imposition of the State Wages Policy by the WA Government.
“There are 137,000 working women employed in the WA public sector comprising over 66% of the public sector workforce.
“Data released yesterday by the ABS on public and private sector pay shows that since 2018 public sector pay has risen below pay in the private sector across WA.
“The State Wages Policy means that, over the past four years, most in the WA public sector, mostly women, have had pay rises below rises in costs of living.
“Clearly the WA Government needs to do better.
"All employers need to do better.
"In WA, highly paid FIFO workforce, for example, is overwhelmingly men.
“Recent reports of sexual assaults against women in FIFO work and in the federal parliament have highlighted that such crimes effectively harass women out of workplaces traditionally dominated by men and workplaces that typically pay high wages.
“Women continue to have, often unpaid, responsibility for the care of children, older people and people with disability.
“Extended time spent out of the workforce impacts on the incomes of women and their savings for retirement.
“In addition to improvements in pay, including public sector pay, all employers and governments need to improve the duration and level of payments for maternity and other forms of care leave and ensure rights to return to work including part time work for new mothers and other carers.”
Source: Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2021, using full time adult ordinary time earnings. Online here.
Source: Wage Price Index, Australia, June 2021. Data compares the percentage change in total hourly rates of pay, excluding bonuses, from the quarter of one year to compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Table 3b. Total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses: private sector by state, original (quarterly index numbers) and Table 4b. Total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses: public sector by state, original (quarterly index numbers) available online here.