A revived piece of Green Party legislation which would force businesses to reveal gender pay differences has the backing of unions, who would ideally like the bill to go even further.

The Government sought advice from officials on the Equal Pay Amendment Bill before Christmas, and Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter said she expected the results would be presented soon.

However she could not put a timeline on when that might happen.

"We've asked for advice and it's something very important to the Green Party."

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The bill was originally brought by Green MP Jan Logie after being drawn as a private member's bill last May.

• READ MORE: Pay equity bill may get another chance with Green MP Julie-Anne Genter as Women's Minister

It aimed to provide greater transparency in the interests of fighting pay discrimination but was voted down 60 votes to 59 - with National, Act and United Future opposing, and Labour, the Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party in favour.

The bill was originally a private member's bill put in by Green MP Jan Logie,but it was voted down in May last year. Photo / NZPA
The bill was originally a private member's bill put in by Green MP Jan Logie,but it was voted down in May last year. Photo / NZPA

Council of Trade Unions president Richard Wagstaff said the CTU supported remuneration transparency in principle, particularly when it would highlight gender imbalance in pay.

"We support the ideas Julie Anne Genter has put up in requiring organisations to report on the gender pay gap, we think it's a good idea.

"We also think pay systems generally should be far more transparent in organisations."

Wagstaff said all collective agreements should have clear rates for starting positions and job progression.

Currently it is not required.

"That creates much more opportunity for conscious and unconscious bias [in pay rates]," Wagstaff said.

CTU president Richard Wagstaff said unions supported the bill, and wanted it to go even further. Photo / Supplied
CTU president Richard Wagstaff said unions supported the bill, and wanted it to go even further. Photo / Supplied

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope said implementing the bill wouldn't be a huge ask for larger business, but "it wouldn't necessarily be welcomed by small business".

"In the UK this requirement was restricted to companies with more than 250 employees."

Hope doubted whether the information would actually be useful in removing the potential for any discrimination.

"The Employment Relations Act only requires a very general description of 'kind of work' so that would not help to show if a woman doing the same job as a man or doing work of the same value as a man was potentially being discriminated against."

Meanwhile, Genter has rejected National MP Denise Lee's call for the Government to support her private member's bill, which would restore the previous government's proposed legislation regarding pay equity.

Lee's bill would mean scrapping the proposals of the reconvened Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles, who reported their recommendations on Monday.

Lee said the Government's course of action was slowing the whole process down and they should instead support her bill, proposing amendments for the parts of it they did not like.

Genter said the changes proposed in Lee's bill had already been rejected by unions and other stakeholders and it was not true the Government's process was slower.

The reconvened working group has advised amending the existing Equal Pay Act 1972, rather than drafting new legislation.