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Greens introduce bill to end pay gag clauses that leave women earning less

Media Release
Larissa Waters 17 Sep 2015

The Australian Greens have today introduced a bill to the Federal Parliament to help close the gender pay gap by ending gag clauses in employment contracts.

"When pay is set in secret deals and employees aren't allowed to discuss the outcome women lose out," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson for women, said.

"In the private sector, it's common practice for contracts to include gag clauses that prevent workers from discussing their pay with one another. 

"In my first legal job, I personally experienced being paid less than a male colleague doing the same job because our pay was set in secret.

"The gender pay gap is much smaller in the public sector at 12.2 per cent, where workers are allowed to talk about their pay, compared 21.3 per cent in the private sector, where these gag clauses exist.

"My bill would give workers the freedom to discuss their pay with their colleagues if they wish to, without fear of breaching the gag clauses often included in contracts.

"It should always be your choice whether to discuss your pay, and some people will still prefer to keep their pay private.   

"There has already been significant interest in this reform from experts and stakeholders, who will now have the chance to comment on the bill.

"I will be discussing the bill with the other parties and seeking their support for this practical step toward ending the gender pay gap, which is still at a whopping 17.9 per cent," Senator Waters said.

More information on the bill here


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