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Calls for Parliament to remove pay secrecy to close gender gap

Judith Ireland reports in the Brisbane Times (13.3.16) on appeals by community representatives calling on government to remove employer restrictions enforcing secrecy about workers’ pay details. Such moves are hoped to address the gender pay gap by making pay levels more transparent.

‘Unions, lawyers and academics are calling on Federal Parliament to enable all Australian workers to discuss their pay with colleagues, in a bid to address the gender pay gap.

‘Australian employers are able to include “gag clauses” in employment contracts that can see workers punished or sacked for talking about their pay.

‘A Greens-initiated bill, currently before a Senate inquiry, would amend the Fair Work Act to allow workers to discuss their pay if they chose to, without negative repercussions. In the explanation to the bill, it is argued “when pay is set in secret by individual negotiation, women are at a disadvantage”.’

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