Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Government welcomes equal pay decision

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations

The Gillard Government today welcomed the decision by the Full Bench of Fair Work Australia (FWA) in the Social and Community Sector equal pay test case.

“This is an important milestone in the implementation of the Fair Work Act,” Senator Evans said.

“The Government has long acknowledged that social and community services (SACS) workers are undervalued and this has been confirmed in the decision by the Full Bench today.”

Senator Evans said the decision was the first since the Government removed the historical barriers to pay equity claims in the federal jurisdiction that required an applicant to prove discrimination as a prerequisite to an equal pay claim.

“The work of these employees has not been valued properly because it has traditionally been seen as being associated exclusively with women,” Senator Evans said.

“The Gillard Government is serious about equal pay and this is the next important step in closing the gender pay gap in Australia.

“We will now work with employers and unions to provide further information to FWA to assist in determining appropriate wage rates.”

Senator Collins said the Government had already established a new national consultative group which will examine how to manage the implications of the test case.

“The funding arrangements in the sector are complex and involve Commonwealth and State Governments, as well as private and not for profit providers,” Senator Collins said.

“The community services sector employs the majority of workers who could be affected by this decision so it is crucial we work together to ensure a sustainable and effective sector.”