There is still a long way to go before equal pay 

Monday, 19 September 2022

Everyone has a right to equal pay and meaningful employment. International Equal Pay Day is dedicated to making this right a reality.

International Equal Pay Day was established in 2019 by the Equal Pay International Coalition and is held annually on the 18th of September. It exists to bring attention to the gender pay gap on a global level and represents the continued work to reduce the gap and achieve equal pay. Globally, the gender pay gap is estimated to be 20%. 

Not only does it vary by industry, but the pay gap for women also varies by race, ethnicity, and disability. In New Zealand, women with disability earn 16.1% less than men with disability. When compared to all men, women with disability earn 19% less. 

Here are some facts provided by UN Women on women’s pay globally: 

  • Women earn approximately 77 cents for every dollar men earn for work of equal value. This pay gap is even wider for women with children. 
  • At the current rate, it will take 257 years to close the gender pay gap. 
  • Women are concentrated in lower-paid, lower-skill work. 
  • Women often have greater job insecurity and are under-represented in decision-making roles. 
  • Women carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid housework and care work than men.

What is the gender pay gap? 

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average salary earned by men versus the average salary earned by women. This difference is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings, as a measure of women’s overall position in the paid workforce.  

It is not the difference between two people being paid differently for work of the same or comparable value, which is unlawful. This is called unequal pay

Australian gender pay gaps are calculated and presented by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. In 2022, they stated the national pay gap was 14.1%. The average full-time weekly earnings difference between men and women was $263.90. On average, women working full-time earned $1609 a week, whereas men earned $1872.90. The pay gap in each state varies. 

This needs to change for all women

The pay gap only gets worse for women with a disability. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that 13% of working age people with a disability were unemployed, and that they were twice as likely to be unemployed (10%), compared to those without a disability (4.6%). Working age people with a disability are also more likely to be unemployed for longer.

Of this percentage, women with a disability were less likely to have full-time employment than their male counterparts. They are also less likely to receive a promotion or enter a management position. The pay gap also increased alongside education levels.

Longstanding prejudice against disability creates an environment where it is permitted to keep people with disability in low wage and responsibility roles. Even if they are just as capable and qualified as their peers.

Why is it important we have people with disability in high level positions?

Some businesses believe it would be costly to accommodate specific needs for people with disability, however, research indicates the opposite. Businesses that incorporate inclusive business practices are highly likely to be more productive and outperform their peers. Kingfisher Bay Resort is achieving just that with the help of Rebecca, who is well on her way to becoming a team leader.

There are many other benefits than the bottom line. People with disability are often very creative, dedicated workers, and excel at problem solving. Inclusive workplaces also have increased employee retention, like Catherine, who celebrated 15 years at Woolworths last year.

Moreover, people with disability bring new perspectives and ideas to the workplace, a valuable addition in an evolving society.

Diversity at EPIC

EPIC employs hundreds of staff and leads by example with our hiring practises. We aim to exceed the industry standards of diversity and inclusion to demonstrate that diversity is good for everyone.

How do we measure up?

  • One in three of our employees have lived in experience with disability
  • 70% of our emerging leaders are women
  • The number of women in our team is 67%, 20 percentage points higher than the national average of 47.2%

EPIC is proud to be levelling the playing field for people with disability.

Diversity in our workforce

Aaron is a board member at EPIC Assist. He is passionate about using his lived experience with disability to empower young people and is studying education at the University of Southern Queensland. Alongside his role as Assistive Technology Specialist for Queensland’s Department of Education and Training, he also works with a charity that helps students with vision impairment.

He was attracted to EPIC as he believes their values mirror his own, and thinks his role on the board compliments the work he does in his personal and professional life. Aaron brings a unique and valuable perspective to EPIC through his lived experience with disability.

“My experience as a person with vision impairment has been very positive, and I have been well supported. I would like to see others share the same experience.”

Rachael is an Employment Consultant with EPIC Assist and proves that her disability is in no way a barrier, but a strength.

“ADHD went from being a barrier for me to being the reason I can do so well and succeed in many things.”

After being diagnosed at 18, so many difficulties in her life started making sense. In high school Rachael would have trouble completing the work and making relationships, and this followed her into the workforce. Since then, she has completed three diplomas, the most recent being a Diploma of Mental Health.

Now that she works as an Employment Consultant at EPIC Assist, Rachael can use her personal experience to help jobseekers with disabilities prepare for interviews. She also talks to employers and explains how they can tailor the interview process.

EPIC Assist is helping people with disability find work

For over 30 years EPIC Assist has been helping people with a disability, mental health and health condition find and maintain meaningful employment.

We believe everyone should have the opportunity to reach their potential and we strive to always lead by example with our hiring practices. One in three EPIC staff members have a lived experience with disability, and these experiences and perspectives empower us to understand our job seekers on a personal level.

What to expect

We provide mental health support services to help you with strategies which promote positive mental health and wellbeing.

We provide you with on-the-job training and support once you are employed, and work alongside you in your workplace for as long as you need us. That could be six months, a year or longer.

That is where EPIC is different to other providers – we are here for the long run. We won’t just find you a job, we are committed to helping you keep your job.

A disability can be your strength, and we work hard to discover this in all our job seekers. If you are looking for help preparing for, finding, and keeping a job you love, get in touch with EPIC Assist today.

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