Supporting the independent education community

Equal Pay Day

The rules do not work for working women. Women make up 46.2% of the Australian workforce, yet women continue to earn less than men, are less likely to advance their careers as far as men and accumulate less superannuation savings.

4 September 2017 is equal pay day.

This day represents the number of extra days women have to work after the financial year in order to earn the same amount that men earn in twelve months.

On this day, IEU members join with members from other ACTU unions to demand action to change the rules for working women.

Equal pay gap: short changing women

The national equal pay gap has hovered between 15% and 19% for the past two decades. Currently, the equal pay gap is 15.3%. This means that women earn on average $251.20 less per week than men.

This gendered income inequality is magnified in retirement due to the current superannuation arrangements. The Australian Human Rights Commission Report, Accumulating poverty? Women’s experiences of inequality over the lifecycle (2009) has shown that the average superannuation payouts to women are just over half that of men, with many women having little or no superannuation.

This statistic was also echoed by the Senate Inquiry into Economic Security for Women in Retirement (August 2016) which predicted that if immediate action was not taken, women currently aged between 25- 30 years would still face the same inequity upon retirement; even with the introduction of the Superannuation Guarantee Levy.

Australia needs to redouble its efforts to achieve gender equality

Women are effectively losing a year’s income every 5.5 years. It is time to address this unfairness.

IEU members join with other union members and the ACTU to call on all members of parliament to take the following steps.

1. Close the gender pay gap

  • Change the rules to ensure greater effectiveness of Equal Remuneration Orders and develop alternative mechanisms to address the undervaluing of women's work.
  • Provide greater resources and support to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and its work.

2. Provide support for working parents and carers

  • Provide the right to temporary part time work for parents and carers.
  • Provide 26 weeks paid parental leave and ensure that superannuation is paid on the Commonwealth Scheme.
  • Increase the Dad and Partner Paid Parental Leave from 2 to 4 weeks paid leave.
  • Review effective marginal tax rates for second-earners.
  • Implement mechanisms for improving the retirement incomes of carers.

3. Remove structural inequalities in the superannuation system

  • Remove the exemption for superannuation payments for employees earning less than $450 per month.
  • Fast-track the increase in the Superannuation Guarantee rate.
  • Set a superannuation objective that supports the continuation of a strong three pillar retirement income system and includes specific reference to women's incomes.
  • Amend the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to ensure companies are permitted to make higher superannuation payments for their female employees.

4. Introduce Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave

  • Include 10 days Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave as part of the National Employment Standards so that all employees can have access to the provision, regardless of the workplace.

5. Improve the aged pension

  • Abandon the proposal to increase the Age Pension retirement age to 70 and maintain the current method of indexation and benchmarking.

6. Address the crisis in housing affordability

  • In light of the number of older women relying on private rental accommodation, urgently review the adequacy of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
  • Redesign aged care policies to take into account the difficulties confronting older Australians in the rental market.

7. Apply a gender lens

  • Ensure that any changes to the retirement income system are measured against the guiding principle of dignity in retirement.
  • Ensure that all government policy analysis in relation to retirement incomes compares the impact on men and women.

These recommendations are contained within the report located at

On equal pay day, ieu members can take action by

1. Contacting the Prime Minister’s Office and their local MP, and requesting that the above recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into Economic Security for Women in Retirement be fully implemented. The Prime Minister’s Office is contactable at: and local MP at:

2. Supporting the ACTU Change The Rules campaign and completing the Modern Workplaces survey

The Family Friendly Work Arrangements Test Case, to be heard by the FWC in December 2017, is a claim for a new Modern Award right to part-time work/reduced hours to help working parents and working carers better balance their work and family commitments.

3. Supporting the ACTU Change The Rules campaign and signing the petition at Tell our political leaders that We Won’t Wait for 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave. The provision must form part of the National Employment Standards.

Read IEU’s full statement here