WGEA Director Libby Lyons sets the record straight: Equal pay is the right that Australian women won in 1969 to be paid the same as men for doing the same work or work of equal or comparable value. Prior to this landmark decision, men had the right to be paid 25% more than woman. Within organisations, unequal pay is sometimes referred to as a “like-for-like” pay gap.
The gender pay gap, on the other hand, measures the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce at an organisation, industry or national level, which is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is caused by a range of social and economic factors that combine to reduce women’s earning capacity over their lifetime.
When an organisation announces they have closed their gender pay gap because they are now paying women and men the same amount for doing the same work or work of equal or comparable value, they have not actually closed their gender pay gap. What they have done is close their “like-for-like” pay gaps. So while that is good, these companies should not expect a pat on the back from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency or anyone else for meeting their requirements under the law.