Multi-employer deals can reduce disparity in salaries.
Multi-employer bargaining in the federal industrial relations system will strengthen equal pay laws, making it easier for women, especially in women-dominated industries, to address systemic unequal pay, claims a report from the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
The report, Reducing the Gender Pay Gap with multi-employer bargaining; outlines how the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill will make a substantial difference in closing the gender pay gap, which has recently expanded after stalling in the final five years of the Liberal National Government in Canberra.
The Bill strengthens equal-pay laws. The report also finds that improving collective bargaining will also make a substantial contribution to closing the pay gap. Women on collective agreements currently earn $102.60 per week more than women who are not, and workplaces with a collective agreement have smaller gender pay gaps than those without.
The Bill’s main multi-employer bargaining streams would also help close the gender pay gap.
Of the eight industries with the highest gender pay gaps, seven would likely be covered by single-interest multi-employer bargaining, while sectors such as aged care, early childhood education and care and administration and support services – which would benefit from the supported stream – are dominated by systemically underpaid women.
The report also finds that the 12 countries with higher rates of multi-employer bargaining than Australia have an average gender pay gap of 10.5 per cent compared to Australia’s 15.3 per cent, using the OECD measure of median full-time earnings from 2021.