GENDER EQUITY REPORTING OBLIGATIONS

Gender Equity Reporting

For additional information  on the gender equity reporting legislation  CLICK HERE

To read AFEI's submission on this legislation CLICK HERE 

The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (WGE Act)requires non-public sector "relevant" employers with 100 or more staff to submit a report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (the Agency) between 1 April and 31 May each year for the preceding 12 month period  (1 April – 31 March reporting period).

 

“Relevant employer” means an employer of 100 or more employees in Australia. Where the number of employees of the employer falls below 100, an employer must continue to report until the number of employees falls below 80 for six months of a reporting period.

Reports are to be made electronically through the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (the Agency) website:

https://www.wgea.gov.au/report/how-report

Matters which must be reported are summarised below - they are complex and detailed.The data gathered by the Agency from these reports is intended to be used to set industry wide benchmarks or standards to be met by employers. Development of these equity indicator standards has been temporarily deferred by the current government. However a  standard for certain gender related issues has been introduced, taking effect from October 2014 for organisations with more than 500 employees (see below).

 

Agency to provide employers with a report on their gender equity performance

The Agency has announced that it intends to give employers a report on their gender equity performance based on a comparison with other employers of a similar size or industry. This would appear to be an exercise in setting the highest common denominator and setting the expectation that this can, or should, be met by all.

 

Despite there being range and diversity of practices across an industry, the gender equity indicator comparisons is the first step in  imposing conformity with the Agency’s view as to the appropriate gender equality norms. 

 

WHAT IS REQUIRED WHEN MAKING REPORTS?

In addition to submitting reports, employers must:

• make reports accessible to employees and shareholders;

• must inform unions whose members are your employees  that the report has been lodged with the Agency;

• must inform employees and unions of the opportunity to comment on the report to the employer or direct to the Agency.

See below for further details on these notification and access obligations.

Employers may exclude personal information or information relating to remuneration they consider should not be subject to this requirement for notification and access.

The Agency may review compliance with the WGE Act by seeking further information from the employer. The Agency may do this on a random basis and may also take into account comments made to it by employees or unions when deciding if a review is to be conducted.

 

Reports must  be signed by the CEO of the employer.  

Reports and Confidentiality — Personal information

The WGE Act provides that personal information means information or an opinion about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.

At the time of lodging their report the employer must, in writing (either in the report or otherwise), inform the Agency of the information included in the report that is considered to constitute personal information. This places the clear obligation on employers to identify any personal information in their reports when lodging the report with the Agency.

NOTE: There are public and confidential versions of the report, both of which can be downloaded for reporting purposes. They are marked "Public" and "Private". Take care to use only the PUBLIC version to meet your notification and access obligations. The Agency CLEARLY STATES it is not responsible for selecting or distributing an incorrect version of the final report.

Notification and access requirements

Employers must comply with the WGE Act notification and access requirements. These require the employer  to:

  • Inform its employees and members or shareholders,  as soon as reasonably practicable after lodging a report, that it has lodged its report with the Agency and advise how the report may be accessed.

According to the Agency, notification to employees could occur through an organisation’s normal means of communication with employees, including employee newsletters, workplace meetings and any other appropriate existing consultative means.

The method used must ensure that the information concerning the organisation’s gender equality report was transmitted widely to all employees.

The Agency says that employers' access obligations may be met by providing employees with a link to a website or intranet site where a copy of the report could be downloaded, or a hard copy of the report (excluding personal information, details on remuneration and other information that may be specified by the Minister for the Status of Women).

In the case of shareholders, the Agency proposes that notification could be made in the next available annual report and on the employer’s website.

  • Inform employee organisations with members in its workplace that the report has been lodged

Within seven days after lodging a report, employers must take all reasonable steps to inform each employee organisation that has members who are employees of that employer that its report has been lodged with the Agency.

Employers must notify employee organisations they could reasonably be expected to know about. This would include an employee organisation that was a party to an enterprise agreement or an employee organisation to which membership fees are paid by payroll deductions.

  • Inform its employees and those employee organisations with members in its workplace of the  opportunity to comment on the report to the employer or the Agency

When informing employees or employee organisations that have members in the workplace that a report has been lodged, the employer must advise them that comments on the report may be given to the  employer or directly to the Agency.

There is no time restriction on when comments can be provided. However, comments provided within 28 days after a report has been submitted, may be taken into account by the employer in providing additional information to the Agency, and by the Agency in requesting additional information for  compliance with the WGE Act.

 

Reporting in 2016 for the period 1 April 2015 - 31 March 2016

Reports for the period 1 April 2015 - 31 March 2016 are due between 1 April 2016 and 31 May 2016. 

Relevant employers are required to submit a workplace profile and questionnaire. The workplace profile and reporting questionnaire capture information on the reporting matters which are related to the six gender equality indicators specified in the Act. These are set out below: 

1. Gender Equality Indicator 1—gender composition of the workforce

Each relevant employer is to report on the gender composition of its workforce.

Matters that must be included in the report:

 Disaggregated data by gender on workforce profile is required on:

  •  employment status;
  •  managers; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or equivalent;
     key management personnel, including distance from the CEO or equivalent; and  other managers, including distance from the CEO or equivalent.
  • non-managers;
  •  professionals;
  •  technicians and trade employees;
  • community and personal service employees;
  •  clerical and administrative employees;
  •  sales employees;
  •  machinery operators and drivers;
  •  labourers;
  •  graduates;
  •  apprentices; and
  • other.

 

 

  •  The existence of strategies or policies to support gender equality.

 

2. Gender Equality Indicator 2—gender composition of governing bodies of relevant employers

Each relevant employer is to report on the gender composition of its governing bodies. 

Matters that must be included in the report:

  • The existence of a governing body.
  • The profile of the governing body including number of members and chairpersons by gender where the relevant employer has a governing body.
  •  The targets, if any, that have been set for the gender composition of the governing body.
  • The existence of a selection policy or strategy for governing body members.
3. Gender Equality Indicator 3—equal remuneration between women and men

 Each relevant employer is to report on the remuneration of its employees.

 Matters that must be included in the report:

  • Disaggregated data regarding the remuneration profile of employees by gender and by workplace profile categories including:
    •  annualised average full-time equivalent base salary; and
    •  annualised average full-time equivalent total remuneration.
  • The existence of a remuneration policy or strategy.
  • The gender pay equity objectives, if any, which are included in the remuneration policy or strategy.
  • Whether any gender remuneration gap analysis has been undertaken and, if so, when.
  •  The actions taken, if any, as a result of a gender remuneration pay analysis.
4. Gender Equality Indicator 4—availability and utility of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to flexible working arrangements for employees and to working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities

Each relevant employer is to report on the availability and utility of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to flexible working arrangements for employees and to working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities.

Matters that must be included in the report:

  • The existence of employer funded paid parental leave for primary carers,  additional to any government funded parental leave scheme for primary carers.
  • The existence of employer funded paid parental leave for secondary carers,  additional to any government funded parental leave scheme for secondary carers.
  • Disaggregated data by gender and manager/non-manager on the utilisation of parental leave.
  • The method and quantum of employer funded paid parental leave for primary carers.
  • The quantum of employer funded paid parental leave for secondary carers. 
     The proportion of the workforce who has access to employer funded paid parental leave for primary carers.
  • The proportion of the workforce who has access to employer funded paid parental leave for secondary carers.
  • Disaggregated data by gender and manager/non-manager on the availability of employment terms, conditions and practices including:
    •  
      • flexible hours of work;
      • compressed working weeks;
      • time-in-lieu;
      • telecommuting;
      • part-time work;
      • job sharing;
      • carer’s leave;
      • purchased leave;
      • unpaid leave; and
      • other.
  • The existence of a flexible working arrangements policy or strategy.
  •  The existence of policies or strategies to support employees with family and caring responsibilities.
  •  The existence of any non-leave based measures to support employees with family and caring responsibilities.
  • The existence of a policy or strategy to support employees who have or are experiencing family or domestic violence.
  • Measures, if any, to support employees who have or are experiencing family or domestic violence.
5. Gender Equality Indicator 5—consultation with employees on issues concerning gender equality in the workplace

Each relevant employer is to report on consultation with employees on issues concerning gender equality in the workplace.

 Matters that must be included in the report

  • Consultation, if any, with employees on workplace gender equality matters.
  • The mode of consultation with employees on workplace gender equality matters.
  • The categories of employees consulted.
6. Gender Equality Indicator 6—sex-based harassment and discrimination

Each relevant employer is to report on sex-based harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

 Matters that must be included in the report

  • The existence of a sex-based harassment and discrimination prevention strategy or policy.
  • The inclusion of a grievance process in any sex-based harassment and discrimination prevention policy.
  • Workplace training, if any, for managers on sex-based harassment and discrimination.
  • The frequency of workplace training about sex-based harassment and discrimination.

 

  Reporting In 2016

 

Reports for this period are due to be lodged with the Agency between 1 April and 31 May 2016. 

 

For the 2015-16 reporting period, employers will have to give the Agency new additional information on: 

 

 

  • appointments, promotions and resignations for managers and non-managers; 
  • the number of employees who resigned,by gender, employment status  and manager /non manager status;
  • the proportion of employees that ceased employment for any reason following parental leave for managers and non-managers.

 

 For the 2015-16 reporting period there have also been some changes to the information the Agency requires in the workplace profile:

 

  • Reporting data for independent contractors is no longer required. Employees employed on a contract of service basis (fixed term or ongoing) are still to be included in the report.
  • Remuneration data for the CEO, or for those managers more senior than the CEO and report to someone overseas, is not required. Remuneration data for casual mangers is not required.
  • Only those components of total remuneration that are paid on a pro rata basis must be converted to a full time equivalent amount and annualised (eg. pro rata bonus for part time employees).

 

 

Minimum standard introduced for Employers with more than 500 employees

In addition to the reporting matters for the 2014-15 reporting period, the Federal  government has introduced a minimum standard for relevant employers with 500 or more employees  (or part of a corporate structure with a combined number of more than 500 employees) to have in place a policy or strategy in at least one of the following areas from 1 October 2014:

1. gender composition of the workforce
2. equal remuneration between women and men
3. availability and utility of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to flexible working arrangements for employees and to working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities
4. sex-based harassment and discrimination

If an employer that is required to meet this minimum standard does not do so, it will have a further two years to improve against the minimum standard before it may be deemed non-compliant by the Agency.