When men are paid more than women, maybe there’s something more at work than equal effort

The grouching Greenies have given further good cause to be kept in opposition permanently – or (even better) booted out of Parliament.

They are saying our splendid National Government needs to take responsibility for increasing gender pay inequity.

Their silly demands (recorded here) have been triggered by the latest wage statistics.

Alf hasn’t looked at the just-released September wage data, yet, but the Greens say the gender pay gap

…has worsened from 12.9 percent in September 2011 to 14.1 percent in September 2012.

But why is this a worsening?

A widening of the gap is neither here not there, in Alf’s view of such matters.

Obviously a constant diet of muesli and lettuce addles the greenie brain and warps the greenie perspective.

But more than that, they seem to think the government should do something about it.

To this dubious purpose, they employ a raft of half-baked arguments.

“This increase in the gender pay gap is completely unacceptable and is a symptom of the National Government’s disregard for women,” Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“Inequity hurts New Zealand’s economy; pay equity will help the whole country to thrive.

“Women should receive equal pay for work of equal value.

“The Government continues to ignore this discrimination against half of our population.

“This is not a few bad employers, this is a systemic problem and the Government needs to put pay equity back on the agenda.”

This Logie sheila has harked back to the brouhaha involving Alasdair Thompson when our Government is supposed to have indicated it might consider legislation to address pay equity, “but when the media attention withdrew so did their commitment”.

She also says she has a Member’s Bill “that could be picked up by the Government and implemented to help to achieve pay equity”.

But then she says –

“Now that we can see the results of a liassez-faire approach to the labour market, I urge the Government to pick up my Bill to ensure women are being paid fairly.”

Alf’s constituents will observe that she cannot correct spell laissez-faire (and she erred with her spelling of Alasdair too).

But doesn’t the hands-off approach mean that bigger pay packets for blokes are naturally what will occur when nothing is done to tip the scales artificially?

And what – exactly – should pay equity involve?

Alf puts it this way: he has a grandson who plays rugby and captains his club team.

This grandson puts as much effort into a game as Richie McCaw but, fair to say, he isn’t as skilled.

So if he plays just as hard and sweats as much during a match, should he be paid the same as McCaw?

Or does someone have to make a judgement and say one is a much better player than the other?

Another good question (as you can find here) is why pass more laws when we already have legislation to treat women fairly.

The Equal Pay Act 1972 requires that men and women doing work requiring the same, or substantially similar, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions are paid the same. In predominantly female work, women are paid what men would be for work requiring the same or substantially similar skills, responsibility, effort and working conditions.

The Human Rights Act and the Employment Relations Act prohibit sex discrimination in employment. The State Sector Act and the Crown Entities Act include requirements for public sector employers to be “good employers”, including meeting equal employment opportunity requirements.

Ms Logie should find out if the law is being properly enforced – and if not, why not – before she bleats about further government intervention being needed.

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