Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, December 2021
This submission was prepared for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. The Review examined the effectiveness of application of the Workplace Gender Equality Act and the existing practices of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) in the promotion and improvement of gender equality in employment and in workplaces. The Review sought to identify areas of future focus for WGEA to further promote gender equality over the next ten years, including reducing gender pay gaps, and if needed, recommend options for reform of the WGE Act and its related instruments.
In its submission, the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) recommends that:
- Any amendments to reporting under the Workplace Gender Equality Act in future reporting periods should maintain consistency and comparability with existing WGEA data collections.
- The WGEA data collection should continue to be made available to research organisations (governed by a partnership agreement with WGEA, with appropriate data privacy protections) to build Australia’s knowledge base on progress towards gender equity.
- Consideration should be given in future WGEA data collections to options that enable employee movements to be tracked between as well as within organisations.
- Any change to the minimum threshold of 100 employees should balance the greater scope for the WGEA data collection in representing the characteristics of the Australian workforce, against the resource burden and systems requirements for companies with fewer than 100 employees.
- Employee age should be added to the information collected in future WGEA data collections.
- Consideration should be given to collecting information on the predominant work location of employees within reporting companies, either by an appropriate Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) region, or by postcode.
- Annual pay audits should be made mandatory for all organisations that report to WGEA, as should regular reporting of GEIs to company leadership and Boards.
- Consideration should be given to adding information on hours worked for employees.
- Any move to the use of the Single Touch Payroll (STP) system for collecting remuneration information should be undertaken only if the resulting data can remain consistent with, and comparable to, WGEA’s current remuneration data series.
These recommendations draw from research findings produced through the longstanding partnership between the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).
The final WGEA Review Report was released on 4 March 2022.