Change text size:   <p>Increase font size</p>   <p>Reduce font size</p>  |   Print page:   <p>Print this page</p>
  |   Contact us   Contact us icon   

Pay equity 

Discrimination, unequal pay, inflexible working conditions and limited access to training and promotion are important issues for women in NSW.

In both industrialised and developing countries, more women than men have entered the labour force since the 1980s. By choice or necessity, women have assumed increasingly indispensable roles in household, national and international economies. Their income has enabled poor families to cope with rising poverty. Their ability to adjust their time and effort to take up atypical forms of work has been an important basis for employment flexibility and structural adjustment.

The basic concept behind pay equity is that men and women should be paid equally for work that is of either equal or comparable value. Thus, women who perform work of equal skill and responsibility to men under the same or comparable conditions and determined according to an objective measure, should be paid equally.

The NSW Equal Remuneration Principle

In 1996, the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW held a Pay Equity Inquiry [IRC website] and in 2000 it established Australia's first Equal Remuneration and Other Conditions Principle to redress the historical gender-based undervaluation of women's paid work.
The NSW Equal Remuneration Principle:

  • allows for fresh assessments of the value of work and the rates of pay in an award where the current rate is undervalued on a gender basis;
  • does not require applicants to prove discrimination;
  • ensures that the reassessment of the value of work is gender-neutral;
  • does not require comparisons to be made, but where they are used they can be made across dissimilar work and across enterprises;
  • is limited to awards, although account can be taken of actual rates paid where they reflect the value of work;
  • provides a range of measures to remedy gender-related undervaluation; and
  • includes a range of economic safeguards.


Gender Pay Equity information is also available on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.