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A Bill for an Act to require certain employers to obtain certification of compliance with an equal pay standard, and for related purposes
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Registered 26 Nov 2018
Introduced HR 26 Nov 2018

2016‑2017‑2018

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

Equal Pay Standard Bill 2018

 

No.      , 2018

 

(Mr Wilkie)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to require certain employers to obtain certification of compliance with an equal pay standard, and for related purposes

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Simplified outline of this Act.............................................................. 2

4............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 3

5............ Act binds the Crown........................................................................... 4

Part 2—Equal pay standard                                                                                           5

6............ Equal pay standard.............................................................................. 5

Part 3—Requirement for certification certificates relating to equal pay standard           6

7............ Relevant employers must have a certification certificate...................... 6

8............ Minister may direct a relevant employer to take action to comply with equal pay standard      6

9............ Review of decisions to give directions................................................ 7

Part 4—Certification certificates                                                                                  8

10.......... Certification bodies............................................................................. 8

11.......... Certification bodies may give certification certificates to relevant employers            8

 


A Bill for an Act to require certain employers to obtain certification of compliance with an equal pay standard, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act is the Equal Pay Standard Act 2018.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this Act

The day after the end of the period of 3 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

3  Simplified outline of this Act

This Act requires certain employers to comply with a standard relating to equal pay.

It does so by requiring the employers to have a certificate (called a certification certificate). To get a certification certificate, a certification body must be satisfied that the employer is complying with the equal pay standard.

If an employer is required by this Act to have a certification certificate and the employer does not have one, the Minister may direct the employer to take such action as the Minister considers necessary to ensure the employer complies with the equal pay standard. Failure to comply with such a direction is an offence.

4  Definitions

                   In this Act:

certification body means a body specified in a determination under section 10.

certification certificate has the meaning given by subsection 11(1).

certifying functions includes:

                     (a)  assessing whether a relevant employer is complying with the equal pay standard; and

                     (b)  giving certificates of compliance in respect of relevant employers that are complying with the equal pay standard.

Commonwealth authority means:

                     (a)  a body corporate established for a public purpose by or under a law of the Commonwealth; or

                     (b)  a body corporate:

                              (i)  incorporated under a law of the Commonwealth or a State or a Territory; and

                             (ii)  in which the Commonwealth has a controlling interest.

constitutional corporation means a corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies.

constitutional trade or commerce means trade or commerce:

                     (a)  between Australia and a place outside Australia;

                     (b)  among the States;

                     (c)  between a State and a Territory;

                     (d)  between 2 Territories; or

                     (e)  within a Territory.

engage in conduct means:

                     (a)  do an act; or

                     (b)  omit to perform an act.

equal pay standard means the standard made by the Minister under section 6.

relevant employer means:

                     (a)  a constitutional corporation that employs, or usually employs, at least 25 individuals;

                     (b)  the Commonwealth;

                     (c)  a Commonwealth authority that employs, or usually employs, at least 25 individuals;

                     (d)  a person that, in connection with constitutional trade or commerce, employs, or usually employs, at least 25 individuals;

                     (e)  a body corporate incorporated in a Territory that employs, or usually employs, at least 25 individuals; or

                      (f)  a person who employs, or usually employs, at least 25 individuals in connection with an activity carried on by the person in the Territory.

5  Act binds the Crown

             (1)  This Act binds the Crown in each of its capacities.

             (2)  This Act does not make the Crown liable to be prosecuted for an offence.

             (3)  The protection in subsection (2) does not apply to an authority of the Crown.

Part 2Equal pay standard

  

6  Equal pay standard

             (1)  The Minister must, by legislative instrument, make a standard (the equal pay standard) that includes requirements relating to equal pay.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), the equal pay standard must require that if individuals receive different wages, the difference must be based on relevant considerations that do not include gender.

             (3)  The Minister must not make the equal pay standard unless the equal pay standard has been developed in consultation with such organisations, representing employers, employees or small business, as the Minister thinks appropriate.

Part 3Requirement for certification certificates relating to equal pay standard

  

7  Relevant employers must have a certification certificate

             (1)  A relevant employer must have a certification certificate.

             (2)  The requirement under subsection (1) applies:

                     (a)  for a relevant employer that employs, or usually employs, at least 250 employees—on and after 1 January 2020;

                     (b)  for a relevant employer that employs, or usually employs, between 150 and 249 employees—on and after 1 January 2021;

                     (c)  for a relevant employer that employs, or usually employs, between 90 and 149 employees—on and after 1 January 2022; and

                     (d)  for a relevant employer that employs, or usually employs, between 25 and 89 employees—on and after 1 January 2023.

8  Minister may direct a relevant employer to take action to comply with equal pay standard

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  a relevant employer is required by section 7 to have a certification certificate; and

                     (b)  the relevant employer does not have a certification certificate;

the Minister may, by notice in writing, direct the relevant employer to take such actions as the Minister is satisfied are reasonably necessary to ensure the relevant employer complies with the equal pay standard.

             (2)  A direction under subsection (1) must specify the time by which, or the period during which, the relevant employer must comply with the direction.

             (3)  A relevant employer commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the relevant employer is given a direction under this section; and

                     (b)  the relevant employer fails to comply with the direction.

Penalty:  50 penalty units.

             (4)  Section 4K of the Crimes Act 1914 does not apply to an offence against subsection (3).

9  Review of decisions to give directions

                   Applications may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of a decision of the Minister to give a direction to a relevant employer under subsection 8(1).

Part 4Certification certificates

  

10  Certification bodies

             (1)  The Minister may, by notifiable instrument, determine that a specified body is a certification body for the purposes of this Act. The determination has effect accordingly.

             (2)  The Minister must not determine under subsection (1) that a body is a certification body unless the Minister is satisfied that the body will carry out certifying functions competently and impartially.

11  Certification bodies may give certification certificates to relevant employers

             (1)  A certification body may give a relevant employer a certificate (a certification certificate) stating that the relevant employer complies with the equal pay standard, if:

                     (a)  the certification body is requested by the relevant employer to give the relevant employer a certificate under this section; and

                     (b)  the certification body is satisfied that the relevant employer is complying with the equal pay standard.

             (2)  If a certification body that has given a certification certificate to a relevant employer ceases to be satisfied that the relevant employer is complying with the equal pay standard, the certification body must, by written notice given to the relevant employer, revoke the certificate.

             (3)  If a certification body gives a certification certificate to a relevant employer, or revokes a certification certificate given by the certification body, the certification body must, as soon as practicable, notify the Minister in writing.

             (4)  A certification certificate comes into force when it is given to the relevant employer and, unless sooner revoked, remains in force until the end of the 12‑month period starting on the day the notice was given.