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Public sector gender pay gap 'may be improving - but still much work to do'

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A slight decrease in the gender pay gap is heartening, but it’s too early to break out the champagne, the PSA says.

This year’s Human Resource Capability Survey (HRC), prepared by the State Services Commission, shows the gender pay gap has decreased 1 per cent to 12.5% - similar to that in the private sector.

But a closer look at the figures shows that decrease is largely due to changes in the make-up of the public service - including nearly 1000 prison officers moving from Serco into Corrections.

In addition, ethnic pay gaps (that is, the difference between the average pay for an ethnic group compared to the average for all other works) have worsened in 2017.

In 2017, the gap for Maori was 11.3% (up 0.3%), the Asian pay gap was 12.1% (up 0.5%) and the Pasefika pay gap was 21.7% (up 1.1%).

The PSA says this should be a matter of immediate concern to the public service.

"While the gender pay gap appears to have improved, closer investigation shows it’s largely due to one operational decision - rather than systemic change,’ PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

"We also note no real improvement in flexible working, and part-time work trending downwards.

"These are areas which can make a huge impact on the lives of working women, and providing decent, flexible or part-time jobs will help to reduce the gender and ethnic pay gap."

The Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, has committed to ending the gender pay gap in the public service within four years.

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