Thursday, 27 October 2016

Gender equality is sliding backwards says the World Economic Forum

It's not great news for women in employment this week with the potential changes to the Government's Paid Parental Leave scheme on the horizon, and now it has been reported by the World Economic Forum that it will take 170 years for women to get pay equality. Not only is that a pretty scary number, but this has increased from 118 years as the estimate just 12 months ago.

According to the World Economic Forum:
"The report is an annual benchmarking exercise that measures progress towards parity between men and women in four areas: Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, Economic Opportunity and Political Empowerment. In this latest edition, the report finds that progress towards parity in the key economic pillar has slowed dramatically with the gap – which stands at 59% – now larger than at any point since 2008."

Australia is not faring too well on this list. We are in 46th place, significantly lagging on other parts of the world including most of Europe and New Zealand. Last year Australia was in 36th place, and we have actually declined significantly over the last ten years. 

Photo credit: steve_lodefink via / CC BY

So why does this matter?
As I said in my blog post on Equal Pay Day, apart from the obvious fairness and equity argument, there is an economic one.
The female participation in the workplace in Australia is 65.2% compared to the male rate of 79.2%. If women were paid equally, and we know that part of the answer to this is around caring responsibilities, then we can increase the participation rate in Australia which means more workers, and therefore more taxes being paid, while less benefits ("Government handouts") are paid from those taxes. 
This can only be a good thing for our country as more workers mean a higher GDP and a lower tax burden on our citizens.

There was some good news from this report, and that is that the gap between men and women in terms of education - literacy and school enrolment - is so small that they could be at equal levels within the next 10 years.

We know that old adage of "what gets measured, gets managed", so let's hope that the work being done by the WEF will help make a difference to closing the gender gaps around the world.

More workplace tips
Whether you are an employee or run your own business, we'd love for you to join us at Savvy Business Women, our Facebook group dedicated to information, collaboration and support for Business Women.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Paid Parental Leave Scheme Changes and You

The media has started more reporting today on the proposed changes to the Government's Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme. Essentially they are proposing to remove access to the full PPL for those who receive paid parental leave from their employer, so that the maximum received between both PPL and any employer scheme is 18 weeks.

According to ABC News: 
"The Turnbull Government wants to save $1.2 billion by stopping new parents from receiving the full 18 weeks available under the Government's scheme if their employer also offers parental leave. The revised scheme, which would see up to 80,000 women have their taxpayer-funded entitlement reduced or cut altogether, has a proposed start date of January 1."

The Labor Party and Greens have started they will vote "no" to the changes, but One Nation and Derryn Hinch have stated they will likely support the changes, leaving the decision in the hands of Nick Xenophon. He does not support a start date of January 1 as that will effect those already pregnant, but may support a start date of October 1, 2017. A decision is likley to be made in the next few days.

If you want to show your opposition to these changes, you can sign a petition at The Parenthood here and also Getup here.  

Once we know more, I will post with what the changes (if any) are and how that may impact you.

4 November 2016 - SBS Reports that Senator Hinch is no longer supporting the proposed changes. Article is here
31 October 2016 - Nick Xenaphon has confirmed he won't support current scheme according to ABC News. Article is here

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