Equal Pay Amendment Bill

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill introduces a simple and accessible process to address systemic sex-based pay discrimination across female-dominated industries.

About the Bill

The Bill was tabled in Parliament on 19 September 2018.

It will allow workers to make a pay equity claim within New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework. By making court action a last resort, the proposed approach will lower the bar for workers initiating a pay equity claim, and use a collaborative process more familiar to unions and businesses.

Under the Bill, employers, workers and unions will negotiate in good faith, with access to mediation and resolution services available if they are unable to agree.

Read an overview of pay equity and the proposed framework [PDF, 469 KB]

Read the Pay Equity Regulatory Impact Statement [PDF, 7.9 MB]

Read the Bill on the New Zealand Legislation website(external link)

Track the Bill’s progress on the New Zealand Parliament website(external link)

Read the Ministers’ announcement on the introduction of the Bill(external link)

Equal Pay Act: Improvements to pay equity legislation [PDF, 870 KB]

Equal Pay Amendment Bill: Outstanding Issues and Approval for Introduction [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Background to the Bill's development

Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles

In 2016, the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles (JWG) provided recommendations to guide the implementation of pay equity. It noted that the current framework in the Equal Pay Act 1972 relied on the courts to determine principles for assessing pay equity issues and setting pay rates.

The principles developed by the JWG aimed to deal with the complexity of the court-based approach. They did this by creating a new pay equity claims process, which was based on the bargaining framework in the Employment Relations Act 2000, for employees and employers to assess a pay equity claim and agree on a settlement.

Recommendations from the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles [PDF, 2 MB]

Reconvened Joint Working Group 

In January 2018, the JWG was reconvened to provide further recommendations that address major stakeholder concerns relating to the former Bill. The recommendations were provided to ministers in February 2018 and were used to develop pay equity legislation.

The Ministers' press release and the Reconvened Joint Working Group's Principles on the Beehive website(external link)

In July 2017, the previous government introduced the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill which gave effect to the previous Government’s response to the Joint Working Group’s recommendations. Following the formation of a new coalition government, the Bill was withdrawn from Parliament in November 2017.

Former Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill

In April 2017, we sought written submissions on a public consultation document on the former Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill. This Bill has since been withdrawn from Parliament.

Read the consultation

Submissions closed on 11 May 2017. The submissions received represent views from individuals, union members, unions or worker associations, advocacy groups, employers, and law firms.

View submissions on the Bill [internal page link to employment-skills/legislation-reviews/exposure-draft-employment-pay-equity-and-equal-pay-bill/consultation

The main Cabinet papers relating to the former Bill are accessible below.

The Cabinet paper in response to the proposals of the original Joint Working Group [PDF, 4.4 MB]

The Cabinet paper that sought approval to introduce the former Bill into Parliament [PDF, 165 KB]