Women and Work Research Group

Pay Equity - Where to Now?

Dr Gillian Whitehouse; Dr Sara Charlesworth; Philippa Hall; Dr Tricia Rooney; Linda White; Miranda Pointon and Joelle Leggett ; Dr Meg Smith; Dr Anne Junor,

18th Dec 2009  12:30 pm - 04:30 pm Committee Room 1, Darlington Centre, City Road, University of Sydney

A WWRG Workshop held on 18 December 2009

On 18 December 2009, the WWRG held a small workshop to inform participants about developments in pay equity and to continue conversations that are going on about where now for pay equity nationally - especially in the light of the House of Representatives report on equal pay "Making it Fair", the EOWA review and the ASU pay equity case.


  • Dr Gillian Whitehouse, A/Prof, University of Queensland - provided an overview of approaches to promoting gender pay equity, with particular focus on the merits and limitations of undervaluation cases. Download PDF

  • Dr Sara Charlesworth, Senior Research Fellow, RMIT - discussed the most significant aspects of Making it fair

  • Philippa Hall, former Director, Pay and Employment Equity Unit, NZ Department of Labour - the NZ Pay and Employment Equity Plan of Action was focused on enabling change in workplaces - in the various human resources and management practices that can affect gender equity at work. Philippa reflected on her experience in her NZ role about the need for mandating and enabling change in workplaces without relying entirely on legal and institutional mechanisms - we won't achieve pay equity one (costly and complex) court case at a time. The exclusive focus on the role of tribunals in assessing work value may also not be productive. As Australia's new industrial system is developing, what can bring about more gender-inclusive approaches to evaluating work, and what will bring preparedness to implement their remuneration implications

  • Dr Tricia Rooney - described tracking the impact of Queensland equal remuneration cases: dental assistants and child care workers in 2009. In attempting to assess the impact of equal remuneration cases, a simple but important starting point is to track what has happened to the pay of the workers involved in recent cases. A recent survey of child care workers and dental assistants in Queensland will be used to assess (i) whether the pay increases awarded in the cases appear to have been passed on to the workers; (ii) how those pay increases have fared in moves to a national IR system; and (iii) what are the likely implications for the equal remuneration decisions of the move to the modern award under the FWA.

  • Linda White, Assistant National Secretary, Australian Services Union - provided the background to the ASU pay equity case including the agreement reached with the Commonwealth, and the significance of the ASU experience in taking the Queensland community services pay equity case. Download PDF

  • Miranda Pointon and Joelle Leggett - discussed research on the Equal Remuneration Principal which Fair Work Australia is doing for the Minimum Wages Panel.

  • Dr Meg Smith, A/Prof, UWS - highlighted the possibilities opened up by the FWA equal remuneration provisions, what assistance would be provided by a federal equal remuneration principle, and the key components of that principle should? it be determined. She made some observations concerning the interesting relations between these dimensions of regulation, and also potential regulation which may be directed to pay equity audits. Download PPT

  • Dr Anne Junor, A/Prof, UNSW - focused on whether the low paid bargaining stream is likely to improve pay outcomes for low paid women (particularly CALD women, casual and part-time employees and mature age labour market entrants). She looked at the potential of remedies offered by Making it Fair and will specifically address potential uses of Spotlight: A Skills Recognition Tool (NZ Dept of Labour) in e.g. identifying fair starting salaries and recognising tacit skills development in the workplace - and equipping women to identify their own skills. Download PPT


Committee Room 1, Darlington Centre, City Road, University of Sydney

Time Details


Light lunch

1.00pm - 2.30pm

Contributions from:
Gillian Whitehouse
Sara Charlesworth
Philippa Hall
Linda White
Tricia Rooney

2.30pm - 2.45pm


2.45pm - 3.30pm

Contributions from:
Meg Smith
Miranda Pointon
Anne Junor

3.30pm - 4.00pm

Discussion and close