Equal pay win for community sector workers!

2 February 2012

Women’s Health West applaud Fair Work Australia’s decision to pay women fairly for their work in one of the most significant improvements to women’s lives in decades.

Women make up 87 percent of the social and community services sector and, under this ruling, their minimum wage rates will increase by 23% – 45% over 8 years from 1 December 2012.

‘”Women’s work” in the social and community services sector has always been undervalued and underpaid, leading to inequality, poor health outcomes, and vulnerability to violence in the home,’ said Women’s Health West CEO, Dr Robyn Gregory.

On average Victorian women earn 17.4 percent less than men. As a result, they are more likely to live in poverty in their old age.

The Federal Government gave an unequivocal commitment to fully fund programs in their areas of responsibility, whatever it takes to deliver equal pay.

‘We want to congratulate Prime Minister Gillard for taking a strong stand on equity for women, not only for this sector, but for women generally. As an organisation committed to equity and justice for women, we welcome any move that brings us closer to that goal,’ said Dr Gregory.

‘We were pleased to note that last year the Victorian government showed their support for the principle of equal remuneration by setting aside $200 million to fund pay rises and indicating they would review this provision depending on the outcome of the Fair Work Australia ruling.

‘Funding equal pay will improve the status and health outcomes of all women, reducing their vulnerability to violence and the death, disability, depression and chronic disease that results’, she said.