10 May

Equal Pay

In Australia, the principle of "equal pay for equal work" was introduced in 1969, yet still, 4 in every 10 women still see the gender pay gap as a key issue.

The principle that where women perform 'equal work' alongside men they should receive equal pay is referred to as "equal pay for equal work".  Importantly though,  equal pay is not applicable where the work in question is essentially or usually performed by females but is work upon which male employees may also be employed" -  teachers and nurses are such examples.

The pay differential continues to be an issue and is estimated to be roughly 18%. Men out-earn women in all but 14 occupations. Interestingly, females earn more than men working as bookkeepers, library assistants, kitchenhands, receptionists, dental assistants and housekeepers - what a comfort that is for women!   

Education is a major mechanism for closing the gender pay gap, at least theoretically.  However, in practice the differential continues.   Even when women are doing the exact same job as a man, with the same set of skills, knowledge and experience, the woman is most likely to be paid less than the man.    The reason this continues is primarily sexist and discriminatory in origin.  It is based upon a view that women are not prepared to work the “extra hours” that men often are, they are more likely to require time off to handle family and child care matters, and do not see work as a career.     

Employers need to do their part in seeing women as valued employees with unique skills.   Whilst effort has been made to bridge the gender pay gap – there is still a long way to go to bridge the gender responsibility gap, which continues to fall upon the shoulders of women to undertake both work outside the home and inside the home.  Perhaps, when gender responsibility is on parity, the gender pay disparity will lessen, eventually to a point where it ceases to exist.  


Gender pay differential is discriminatory when the reasons have no basis and the decision is based upon perspectives designed to preclude women, such as the ability to work long hours. For many women, the responsibility for managing children and family life falls upon their shoulders, this limits their capacity to spend 50+ hours per week at the workplace.   

  • Long working hours is not good for business nor employees – so if your workplace is working extraordinary long hours – it is time to assess the reasons – and determine better operating procedures. 
  • Check out pay differential of men and women performing the same type of work to determine and determine the process for reducing this gap. 

At Rochforts Workplace Solutions we can provide advice and guidance in dealing with such issues.     

Whilst we are committed to providing you with information that you can trust, the content of this publication is general in nature and should not be relied upon as professional advice. Please contact us for specific advice on how to proceed before taking any action.

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