NSW unions are calling on the Baird Government to act now to build a better future for women by taking solid steps to close the gender pay gap.

It follows the government’s Women in NSW 2015 report released today which shows the gender pay gap between men and women continues to increase despite more women completing degrees and participating in the workforce.

Women's average pay remains just 80 per cent of men's - a difference of about $320 a week.

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said much more needs to be done to address the gross inequities facing women in the workplace and retirement.

“The Baird Government’s response to gender inequality has been appalling. If Premier Baird was really serious about addressing these gross inequalities he would begin by standing up to the federal government and their attacks on women’s paid parental leave, family tax benefits and moves to reduce the minimum wage for the lowest paid women.

“Premier Baird needs to focus on passing legislation that will make a positive difference to NSW women in all working positions and so far his government has been silent on the issue.”

Unions NSW Assistant Secretary Emma Maiden said the report reinforced the need for effective political and industrial campaigning.

“Recent ABS figures show the gender pay-gap in NSW is 6.5 per cent larger for non-union employees when looking at average weekly earnings, meaning union workplaces have better gender pay equality outcomes.

"No one is going to hand us equality on a platter. More women need to join trade unions and campaign for equality, just as preceding generations did," Ms Maiden said.

 “Unions are committed to developing initiatives to deal with the gap in wages between men and women. Working people in many industries are standing up and demanding wage justice such as workers in the social and community and early childhood education. But we need a more comprehensive, tripartite approach to come up with some concrete ways to reduce the gender pay gap, eliminate workplace discrimination and even up the huge disparity in retirement savings between men and women across all industries.”

Unions will continue to campaign for workplace rights that promote equality and call on Premier Baird to act now to ensure the gender pay gap does not continue to grow by:

  • Paving the way for women in NSW by improving the Paid Parental Leave Scheme to ensure working parents have universal access to 26 weeks of government-funded paid leave.
  • Introducing mandatory gender pay audits especially in non-union workplaces.
  • Introducing new family friendly working arrangements for employees returning from parental leave.
  • Resist federal government proposals which would force women to trade off wages and conditions in return for family friendly hours.
  • Resist calls to reduce minimum wages and cut penalty rates which would disproportionately disadvantage women in NSW. 

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