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Pay Gaps and Pay Equity in New Zealand

Significant work has been done across the public and private sector in Aotearoa over the past few years to actively close the gender pay gap with a moved emphasis on ethnic pay gaps and pay equity in more general terms. Part of this work has involved working through large-scale pay equity claims and releasing information and toolkits that focus on the causes and drivers of pay inequity.  

In 2020 the Equal Pay Act 1972 was amended so that employees like Kristine would not have to go to court to prove they were undervalued. 

The Act now sets out a clear pay equity process to test whether work that’s predominantly done by women is free from sex-based undervaluation. The Act is unique because it allows us to compare work from different organisations and/or sectors. 

What is the pay equity landscape in Aotearoa, NZ right now?  

On 18 August 2021, StatsNZ announced that the gender pay gap was 9.1 percent. The gender pay gap has reduced since 1998 (16.3 percent), but has stalled in the last decade. 

We’re making progress, but there’s a lot more mahi to do! 


2020 stocktake of gender, Māori, Pacific and ethnic diversity on public sector boards and committees 

Results of the 2020 stocktake of gender, Māori, Pacific and ethnic diversity on public sector boards and committees, undertaken annually by Manatū Wāhine Ministry for Women. Read article… 


Fixing the gap  

Given the range of causes, the solution is complex. Addressing the causes of the gap requires sustained action over time, including changing societal attitudes and beliefs about women and men, and work. 

This requires collective action from a range of participants including workers, employers, careers advisers, business leaders and employee groups, and the government. 


Be a part of the change

Manawatū Wāhine (Ministry for Women) is working on the development of the Women’s Employment Action Plan which will identify actions to improve the employment outcomes for women in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is about removing the barriers that stop women from getting into and staying in work, and for women and their families to be financially secure, and have access to good employment and work that suit their needs and their families’ needs. 

The Plan will be inclusive of all women, and focus on specific actions to support women who are marginalised in the labour market (wāhine Māori, Pacific women, ethnic women, disabled women, young women, older women, LGBTQIA+ and sole mothers).  

The Ministry are seeking feedback and ideas on what actions will support women’s employment. You can contribute to this mahi here or read more here  


Tools, guidance and resources  

Gender Pay Gap guidance and resources 

The Gender Pay Principles provide a framework for creating working environments free from gender-based inequalities, based on collaborative action between agencies, employees and unions. Eliminating gender pay gaps is a key aim of the Principles. 

Gender Pay Gap 

Hiring, progression and remuneration