The Government wants to introduce new legislation by mid-year to improve pay equity.
Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles will be reconvened.
It will recommend new legislation to improve pay equity for women.
The group was previously set up in 2015 and make recommendations to the Government, resulting in the Employment (Equal Pay and Pay Equity) Bill. The bill was introduced by the previous Government after the $2 billion settlement over the TerraNova pay equity claim, but axed by the current Government.
The bill aimed to eliminate sexual discrimination in employment conditions including pay, but had a six-year limit on equal pay claims.
In stopping the bill, Lees-Galloway said that it diminished the opportunity for other workers to make a claim similar to the TerraNova one.
"The legislation proposed by the previous Government was withdrawn from Parliament as one of the very first things we did. The old legislation undermined the original Joint Working Group principles and created unnecessary hurdles for workers raising claims," Lees-Galloway said.
The key issues for the reconvened group will be how to determine the merit of a claim as a pay equity claim, and how to select appropriate male comparators.
The group will include the Council of Trade Unions, business leaders including Business NZ and the Employers and Manufacturers Association, and Government representatives.
It will be facilitated by agri-business leader and company director Traci Houpapa.
Genter said Houpapa, a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, was a respected leader in working with business, iwi and diverse stakeholders.
"A woman shouldn't be paid less just because she is a woman working in a female-dominated industry," Genter said.
BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope welcomed the reconvening of the group and said it was important for the new legislation to enable pay equity claims to be easily identified and settled.
It will meet tomorrow and make recommendations to ministers by the end of next month.
The Government will look to introduce legislation based on the recommendations mid-year.