We know it will take time before the gender pay gap will close. Meanwhile, there are some things that you can do to may help you to be paid fairly.

A first step to understanding the gender pay gap could be using our online tool What’s My Gender Pay Gap? to look at pay gaps by factors that are relevant to you, such as industry, occupation, age, and ethnicity.

You could also familiarise yourself with information on the Employment New Zealand website, which outlines your rights and responsibilities as an employee, and the expectations and requirements employers have to support their employees through policies and practices.

Applying for jobs

Consider the characteristics and reputation of where you're applying. Organisations that have policies on closing pay gaps and diversity and inclusion may be better employers for women. 

Consider applying for jobs even if you don’t meet all the key requirements. Research suggests women are more likely to see key requirements as necessary, whereas men are more likely to apply for jobs even if they don’t meet all the requirements. 

Find out what you’re worth. You can ask your potential employer the salary range of the advertised position. You can also negotiate a job offer. You don’t need to accept the first offer nor accept an offer straight away. For some tips on how to get paid what you’re worth, visit the Careers NZ website.

Supports available when caring for children and/or dependents

Caring for children and/or dependents can impact a person’s ability to fully participate in the labour market. Taking time out from work through paid (and unpaid) parental leave or reduced work hours to care for children or dependents can also impact a person’s career progression and makes increases to wages or salary more difficult.

Women are more likely to experience these impacts in their working lives than men. These factors can widen the gender pay gap between women and men as well as widening the pay gap between women with children and women without children. This trend is called the “motherhood gap".

You may be able to receive additional support during parenthood which could help reduce the impact of the gender pay gap and additional pressures and “penalties”.

Some available government supports include:

There are also a range of community organisations that can provide help and advice to parents. SmartStart have developed a database that you can use to search for supports in your area.

Read more about women in the labour market and ways that women are supported into work.

Pay Equity claims

You have the right to make a pay equity claim under the Equal Pay Act. 

You can raise a pay equity claim if your work is or has been predominantly performed by women and is currently or has been undervalued due to social, cultural, or historical factors. Unions can represent and lead employees through the pay equity claims process.

If the claim has been deemed arguable, a thorough assessment of the skills, responsibilities, conditions of work, and degrees of effort of the work done by the claimant must be undertaken. The work and remuneration of comparative industries also needs to be examined. 

If undervaluation is found, parties to the claim must agree on how to correct the differences. 

Pay equity claims can be a long and complex process but there is more information on the Employment New Zealand website.

Working in the public service

If you work for a public service department, your employer has committed to Kia Toipoto: Closing Gender, Māori, Pacific and Ethnic Pay Gaps Public Service Action Plan 2021-24. Find your agency’s plan to implement Kia Toipoto to familiarise yourself with what actions they intend to take to reduce the gender pay gap.

Further reading: Gender Pay Gap

The Ministry has published a range of reports, action plans, and resources on the Gender Pay Gap.