City of Newcastle celebrates gender pay equity this May Day

City of Newcastle

City of Newcastle (CN) is leading the way in gender equity, with recent data showing its employees experience almost no gender pay gap.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency data on average weekly earnings concluded that the national pay gap between the earnings of women and men is nearly 22 per cent. In comparison, a recent assessment of CN salaries showed there is no significant difference for Council employees – in fact, female employees earn marginally more on average than their male counterparts.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it is important to acknowledge this achievement ahead of May Day on 1 May, a day traditionally celebrated by the Australian workers’ movement after a long struggle for their right to an eight-hour day.

“City of Newcastle has led the way with progressive benefits and conditions for many years now, proving our continuing commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity,” Cr Nelmes said.

“We were one of the first councils in NSW to include domestic violence leave provisions back in 2018. This was alongside a range of other flexible and female-friendly working conditions such as miscarriage leave as part of our industry-leading Enterprise Agreement.

“Our continual shift towards pay parity has challenged the rest of the Local Government sector to consider how they too can do better. At CN we listen to what our workers want, and we are proud this May Day of our status as a progressive and female-friendly enterprise.”

CN CEO Jeremy Bath said the equitable outcome achieved for local government employees statewide should be celebrated.

“City of Newcastle is a leading organisation when it comes to eliminating the gender pay gap,” Mr Bath said.

“The reasons for this good result are many. We have built a culture at CN where we focus on the team rather than the individual, and where excellence is rewarded rather than gender, tenure, or an ability to negotiate.

“Our Enterprise Agreement, developed in partnership with unions, was most recently approved by our employees in 2022 and is something we know sets us apart as an employer.

“Our challenge now is to continue to strive for gender equality within our organisation and to help support the development and excellence of all our employees.”

United Services Union (USU) Organiser Luke Hutchinson said the recent pay equity data shows how the USU’s long history of delivering improved pay and conditions for all has made a huge impact at CN.

“The USU is very pleased that the conditions secured in the City of Newcastle Enterprise Agreement have ensured there are no reported gender pay gaps between any workers at the City of Newcastle,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“This groundbreaking agreement not only acknowledges but actively incorporates socially progressive conditions. These include vital provisions such as access to miscarriage leave, improved parental leave, enhanced workplace flexibility, and family and domestic violence leave.

“By fostering these conditions, we ensure workplace protection and facilitate optimal service delivery for our vibrant community.

“Establishing a uniform classification framework that ensures fair remuneration and equitable structuring of qualifications and skills was incredibly important to the USU.

“Notably, this framework ensures that traditionally female-dominated professional sectors, like Libraries and Early Childhood Education, are directly aligned with other professions such as engineering or accounting.”

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