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Source: Human Rights Commission

Several employers and experts attended a first of its kind workshop hosted by the Human Rights Commission about how pay transparency can benefit businesses.

The Commission together with the Employers and Manufacturers Association held a session where transparency practises, gender equality, career progression, diversity, and inclusion were also discussed.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo said greater transparency would ensure workers felt more secure, valued and invested in a business that has mutually invested in them.

“Equal Pay for women is guaranteed under New Zealand’s Equal Pay Act 1972. This has not stopped women and ethnic minority groups from being paid less than the dominant groups in society. Pay transparency will make visible gender and ethnic pay gaps so employers can start to close them.”

Auckland Council who shared their journey on using data to identify their ethnic pay gap explained the organisation publicly makes available salary bands so it’s staff know where a role sits in a band and where their peers may sit within that band.

“Transparency is critical for the Council because it is an enabler of equity and inclusion. We’re living in a post-March 15 era where people are starting to address the impact of these huge things on our society and our workplaces are critical agents for change for that,” said Fazeela Raza, the Principal Advisor Diversity and Inclusion at Auckland Council.

“The three things that we’re doing is to ensure that there are targets to senior appointments, more inclusive recruitment approach and leadership capability,” she added.

Employers also heard that pay transparency should not be looked at in isolation but part of the broader context of inclusion. They were also encouraged to take the lead and look at a self-regulatory response to pay transparency.

“Employers appear to be more receptive to having discussions on the issue. It’s just an issue of making sure we’re crafting an appropriate response that doesn’t, on the one hand, breed resentment but on the other hand, it achieves those fairness goals, as well as promotes economic growth for all Kiwis,” said Daniel Smith, Governance and Investment Stewardship Expert at CGI Glass Lewis.

Saunoamaali’i encouraged employers that by enacting transparent pay policies they would be well-positioned as leaders in a future where fair, equitable, transparent and inclusive practices will be expected.