Parlour readers should be aware that a new act governing gender equity at work passed in parliament last year. The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (WGE Act) has stated aims of “promoting and improving gender equality and outcomes for both women and men in the workplace”. This has meant a name change for the agency overseeing equity at work. It is now known as the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
As well as focusing on ‘gender equality’ rather than ‘equity for women at work’, the act has been updated in a number of ways including the definition of ‘employment matters’. The main changes are to the reporting requirements. These apply to non-public sector workplaces that employ over 100 employees. However, workplaces should be aware that those who employee under 100 employees can still access the agencies resources. It is too early to know what the shifts in focus and the substantive changes will mean in terms of outcomes at work. Be assured that focus on pay equity and women in leadership remains prominent on the WGEA’s website. Also, there is currently a short video on the agency’s home page. It asks some interesting questions and is worth looking at.