Reduced Workplace Gender Equality (WGE) Act reporting requirements

Employers are set to face reduced Workplace Gender Equality (WGE) Act reporting requirements for 2015-16 although uncertainty exists because the Greens are considering fighting the changes in the Senate and the ALP is still considering its position.

The Federal Government has set out changes for next year’s reporting contained in the WGE (Matters in relation to Gender Equality Indicators) Instrument 2013 (No. 1) following its consultation process.
Just before she stepped down as WGE Agency director, Helen Conway said the proposed additional requirements would have imposed a substantial burden on employers and many employers would have struggled to report on the additional matters accurately. “Employers need to derive a benefit from reporting to the Agency commensurate with the effort required to report. These amendments will achieve that balance by removing some of the more onerous requirements that would have required a disproportionate amount of time and effort from employers, had they come into effect,” Conway said. The new reporting time frame starts with the WGE Agency led by a public servant after the Govt revealed the WGEA would have an acting head (see,Public servant heads up WGEA, below) two days before it announced the report requirement changes. Conway announced late last year she would step down in march (DA19/12/14).

Reporting details – what the changes mean

For diversity officers, reports to be lodged this year between April 1 and May 31 for 2014-15 remain unchanged, covering the same issues as last year. The changes remove some of the extra requirements scheduled for reporting on in 2015-16. These are:

  • Remuneration of CEOs or equivalent, and execs above them;
  • Workers engaged on a contract for services;
  • Annualised average full-time components of total remuneration;
  • Gender information on job applications received and interviews conducted; and
  • The number of requests made, and approvals granted, for extensions to parental leave.

Employers must still provide data on: appointments, promotions and resignations for managers and non-managers, and the proportion of managers and non-managers that ceased employment following parental leave. Senator Michaelia Cash, as Minister Assisting the PM for Women, said the changes will reduce the overall cost of reporting by more than one third for each reporting organisation.

Further information can be found Department of Employment website.

First published in Discrimination Alert, for a free trial of the fortnightly news service click here.