Today is Equal Pay Day across Australia. But what does the day actually symbolise?

Equal Pay Day marks the number of extra days it has taken women since the end of the financial year to earn the same amount as men. In other words, this year, it has taken women an additional 69 days to catch up to men! Last year Equal Pay Day was 4th September, so women have had to work an additional 4 days this financial year- the pay gap is getting worse!

In Australia, the current difference in pay between men and women is 16.2%. For a nation where women make up over 45.6% of all employees such a large pay gap is inexcusable.

One reason behind the pay gap in Australia is the fact that women occupy less senior roles than men in businesses across the country. Last year, of the ASX 200 companies, only 20% had female directors, of which 6% had female chairs and 6% had female CEOs.

Studies have shown however, that despite these alarming facts, gender equality in the workplace is actually good for business! According to a La Trobe University Business School study earlier in the year, after examining more than 500 ASX-listed companies it was found that those companies with more women on boards actually made more money.

Why else do we see less women occupying management roles?

There is still a common belief among many that you need to be working Monday to Friday, 9-5pm in order to work in a senior management position. This couldn’t be more untrue. This is where the beauty of flexible work comes into play. Certain women who have the responsibility to care for a child (as well as a number other employees) have the right to request flexible work arrangements to vary the number of hours they work, the days of the week they work, as well as their starting and finishing times. Last year, close to 75% of employed mothers reported that they have used one or more type of flexible work arrangement to care for children, and to allow them to carry out the inherent requirements of their roles.

This means that it IS possible to have women in senior management roles, they just might work a differently arranged 38 hour week to what you do!

How can you participate in encouraging the recognition of Equal Pay Day today? Start a conversation, attend an equal pay day event, and encourage your workers to carry red purses and red bags to represent economic discrimination.

Here’s hoping that next year we celebrate Equal Pay Day on 1 July…

For more information on Equal Pay Day and what this means for you, clients should contact the HR Assured team. If you’d like more information about the benefits of becoming an HR Assured client contact us today for a free consultation.