Submission to the FWA (Equal Pay For Equal Work) Bill

September 13, 2022

Work and Workers

Per Capita has considered the EPEW Bill and finds its scope woefully inadequate to address the problem it seeks to tackle: to ‘stop the exploitation and limit the use of labour hire contracts by removing the incentive for employers to do so, which is lower wages’. This is because the proposed amendments only provide protections for a limited cohort of labour hire employees; those who would be covered by a short list of specified modern awards.

Per Capita submits that the EPEW Bill should not proceed in its current form. However, we believe the inquiry allows for our submission to discuss how the proposed purpose of the EPEW Bill could be best achieved in future amendments to the FWA.

Further, Per Capita submits that the use of the phrase ‘equal pay for equal work’ in the title of the Bill, a phrase most commonly associated with the ongoing struggle for gender pay parity, is inappropriate. Particularly, considering that the EPEW Bill seeks only to address the pay disparity of labour hire workers in a mere handful of industries, many of which are traditionally dominated by male workers. The words that our law makers use is important, and this language should not be used for future proposed amendments of this type.