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Pay Transparency and Parliament

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The Employment Relations (Employee Remuneration Disclosure) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the Member’s Ballot on the 20th of March. What does this mean, and what are the pay transparency trends?

The Employment Relations (Employee Remuneration Disclosure) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the Member’s Ballot on the 20th of March. 

This Bill seeks to make clauses or terms prohibiting employees from discussing or disclosing their remuneration (including salary, wages, and other conditions) to third parties, including other employees of the same employer prohibited. Currently, if these terms are within an employment contract, breaching these terms may be considered a breach of good faith or a disciplinary matter subjecting the individual to detriment or adverse treatment by their employer. 

The Bill seeks to ensure that employees can discuss and disclose their own pay rate to others without detrimental repercussions to their employment. 

This is following a global trend, for example, eight states in the United States have enacted salary transparency laws, all a part of a general trend to bolster wage equality. The United Kingdom has also prohibited contractual terms such as those prohibiting employees from disclosing their remuneration

Pay transparency is becoming more widely discussed issue, especially on social media such as TikTok. Creators Lexi Larson and Hannah Williams have built platforms on breaking down their pay checks and their career journeys; platforms which have amassed millions of followers. However, these are not without risk, as Lexi Larson ended up losing her job for sharing how she went from earning $90,000 to $70,000 at the same place of employment (as she went part-time to dedicate more time to her social media). Read more about their stories here

A Payscale Report in the United States in 2023 found that workers who do not feel their employer is transparent about pay are more likely to look for a new job; additionally, 14% of business leaders said employees had left because they saw job postings with higher pay elsewhere.  

This is an international discourse, thus connecting international research with New Zealand themes and data is essential to map this landscape. MindTheGap is New Zealand’s first Pay Gap Registry; which shows whether or not a business has published its pay gaps. Over 100 New Zealand businesses have committed to reporting their pay gaps. Check out their website and research here.  

There is a beginning of a societal shift, especially among young people to be discussing their remuneration, and thus there is some legislative response in return. 

This Bill is only in its first reading in the House, follow along with its progression here:

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