NSW unions are challenging government, business and community groups to come together for a special summit focusing on closing the ever growing gender pay gap.

The current 20% gender pay gap means that from October 27th until the end of the year, women are basically working for free, as highlighted by the recent Kyle and Jackie O show initiative.

Women's average pay remains just 82.1 per cent of men's - a difference of about $300 a week.

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said while unions support Kiss FM’s push to raise awareness for equal pay much more needs to be done to address the gross inequities facing women in the workplace and retirement.

“Unions are committed to developing initiatives to deal with the gap in wages between men and women. While many industries are standing up and demanding wage justice like workers have done in the social and community sectors and early childhood education, we need a more comprehensive, whole of government approach to pay equity.

“Gender pay inequality is the highest it’s been in 20 years and we know that it is not going to fix itself.

 “The reality is women earn around 20 percent less than men, are more likely to have career breaks or work part-time and they live longer creating huge inequality between genders, which is particularly evident in retirement,” Mr Lennon said.

On average, men retire with $197,000 in super, whereas women retire with just $105,000 a difference of $92,000.

To combat this Unions NSW last year boosted female employees’ superannuation by two percent, an initiative embraced by the broader union movement at the recent ACTU Congress. This move has paved the way for unions to push for extra super for women through the enterprise bargaining process.

“While we are not implying all employers are consciously paying men more than women there is an unconscious bias that is resulting in this massive gap in pay and it is impacting on all corners of society. 

“We need a 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.”

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