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  • Consistent with the aims of achieving better pay, the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act includes significant reforms targeted at improving gender equity.
  • A new expert panel can make orders regarding pay in the Care and Community Sector.
  • Alongside the pay reforms, employers now have a positive duty to eliminate sexual harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation.

A key element of the Government’s agenda to achieve better pay is to achieve greater pay equity.

This article, which is the third in a series on the Fair Work Legislation (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Amendment Act 2022 (the ‘Act’), will cover the reforms directed at gender equity and changes now made to Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (‘FW Act’).

Gender equity objective

At its apex, the FW Act has been amended to include ‘job security and gender equality’ as an objective of the Act. The clear statement of intent, aspirational as it may sound, has become an overarching consideration on matters interpreting and applying the FW Act.

In addition to the overall objective of the FW Act, the modern awards objective contained within has been amended to include:

The need to achieve gender equality in the workplace by ensuring equal remuneration for work of equal or comparable value, eliminating gender-based undervaluation of work and providing workplace conditions that facilitate women’s full economic participation’.

Similarly, the minimum wages objective in the FW Act has been amended in similar terms.

When exercising its powers in relation to modern awards and setting minimum wages, the FWC must now take into account this additional objective, which has been placed front and centre by the amendments and should have a real impact on future decisions.

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