Upcoming reforms may affect DCA members who are required to report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). The new reforms aim to accelerate workplace gender equality in Australia, and involve changes to WGEA’s reporting requirements for 2024.
The changes are a result of the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023, which made amendments to the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (WGE Act).
Here, we outline the key changes and new requirements. We also highlight DCA member resources you may find useful for your organisation’s WGEA reporting requirements and gender equality efforts.
Who will these reforms apply to?
These reforms apply to organisations already required to report annually to WGEA. This includes private sector employers and Commonwealth public sector organisations with 100 or more employees.
WGEA has a range of supporting resources on these changes. For more information, see their guide to understanding changes to WGEA’s legislation, or check out their Capacity Building Live Masterclasses. If you have any questions about compliance with the new requirements, please contact WGEA directly.
What are the key changes for employers?
You will need to collect and report on more detailed information
Employers will soon be required to provide more detailed workforce data to help address gaps in the WGEA dataset. Filling these data gaps is essential for better understanding gender inequality in Australia.
From 1 April 2024, employers will be required to report workforce data on:
- employee age (year of birth)
- primary workplace location
- CEO, Head of Business and Casual Manager remuneration.
There are also expanded reporting requirements concerning prevention and response to sexual harassment, harassment on the ground of sex, or discrimination in the workplace.
Useful DCA Resources
- D&I 101- Collecting Diversity Data
- Sexual Harassment
- Myth Busting Sexual Harassment at Work
- Implementing Positive Duties (this resource concerns the new positive duty requirement under the Sex Discrimination Act and contains guidance on preventing and responding to workplace sexual harassment and sex discrimination).
You will be required to share your Executive Summary and Industry Benchmark Report to your governing body
The new legislation requires employers to provide their WGEA Executive Summary and Industry Benchmark Report to their Board.
The Executive Summary sets out the key results from your submission to the WGEA annual Gender Equality Reporting. It will include your gender pay gap, your gender composition and average remuneration per pay quartile and your organisation’s key findings under each gender equality indicator.
The Industry Benchmark Report compares your results to the results of other organisations in an ‘Industry Comparison Group’, which is generated by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) industry class as well as employee size.
WGEA makes these documents confidentially available at the end of reporting (generally in October or November).
Large organisations will be required to have policies and strategies that address the Gender Equality Indicators
From 2024, large organisations (500 or more employees) will be required to have policies or strategies that address each of the six gender equality indicators (GEIs).
An organisation can be compliant with this requirement by having separate polices or strategies or by sharing an organisation-wide gender equality strategy or policy that includes aspects that address each of the six GEIs. Either way, the policy or strategy must explicitly address each GEI.
WGEA has resources to support your organisation in fulfilling the new requirement. DCA resources, relevant to each indicator, can assist your organisation’s strategy moving forward.
DCA also has several key resources that can help you to formulate your policies and implement effective strategies:
- Write or update your D&I policy, our 10-point guide to help design or update your D&I policy.
- Understand Change At Work and take a strategic approach with our evidence-based model for designing and implementing D&I organisational change.
- Use example D&I policies, strategies & plans (please note that these examples were published in 2023 or earlier so may or may not necessarily comply with WGEA’s new requirements).
Know that WGEA will start publishing employer pay gaps
Under the new legislation, WGEA will publish employer gender pay gaps, in addition to publishing the gender pay gap at a national, industry and occupational level.
Publishing gender pay gap data will draw on existing reporting data, so employers will not need to provide additional information to WGEA.
- WGEA will publish the first set of private sector employer gender pay gaps on 27 February 2024. This will cover 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023 reporting.
- The first release of Commonwealth public sector organisation’s gender pay gaps will be published in late 2024 or early 2025. Data for Commonwealth public sector organisations will be based on 1 January 2023 – 31 December 2023 reporting.
Employers have the opportunity to provide an Employer Statement that gives context to their gender pay gap results when WGEA publishes employer gender pay gaps on 27 February 2024.
Useful DCA resources
You will need to (confidentially) report to WGEA on CEO remuneration
Reporting remuneration for CEOs, Heads of Business and Casual Managers is an important step forward in gaining a more accurate representation of the real gender pay gap.
It should be noted that CEO remuneration has previously been reported to WGEA. Many employers (more than 50%) provide CEO remuneration to WGEA voluntarily on an annual basis.
Will WGEA publish CEO remuneration?
As with all remuneration data collected by WGEA, individual CEO pay information will be confidential.
How will this impact employer gender gaps?
Nearly 80% of CEOs in Australia are men. Because CEOs are often the highest paid employees at an organisation, WGEA expects the inclusion of CEO remuneration to have a meaningful impact on employer average gender pay gaps.
This is why WGEA will only publish the first set of average employer gender pay gaps, in addition to median and gender composition and average remuneration per pay quartile, once CEO remuneration is reported to WGEA.
Useful DCA resources
- Explore our Gender resource section, in particular our resources on gender balance in leadership in the leading practice section
- She’s Price(d)less – 2022 update report
- Explore the Pay Equity section
Further possible changes
WGEA is currently considering the outstanding recommendations from the 2021 Review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. Further legislative amendments are currently under consideration and consultation. These include:
- collection of information about employees who identify as non-binary
- collection of diversity information about employees
- setting and achieving gender equality targets
- additional changes to support Respect@Work.
See WGEA’s Get future ready: A guide to understanding changes to WGEA’s legislation for more information.