Yesterday the government acknowledged they would not rule out bringing in legislation to prevent women using the equal pay act to get decent pay.
This is of course in response to the Kristine Bartlett case that is challenging the gender bias of thousands of women being paid the minimum wage and just over for aged care work.
I have a copy of an aged care workers job description. Here are some highlights from the key performance indicators:
• Removal of waste,
• body removal,
• laundry and clothing tasks,
• clean the sluice room,
• clean up soiled areas,
• make beds,
• monitor and report on any changes or concerns in the health of residents,
• follow the directions and delegations of registered nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists, and administrators,
• actively participate in team meetings,
• actively support and comply with health and safety policy and procedures…
For all of this and much more, which has people’s lives and well-being at stake, care workers are paid on average about $14.30-50 ph. That’s less that I got for teaching the French horn when I was 16.
There have been multiple reports highlighting the injustice of this and harm of this. It is clearly acknowledged by most as gender based discrimination because traditional “women’s work” of caring, cleaning and clerical has never been paid decently and the 90% of the workers are still women.
That’s why the employment court ruling enabling Kristine Bartlett to use the equal pay act to challenge her low pay is so exciting.
To hear yesterday, on suffrage day, that the Government is considering intervening and will not rule out legislating against equal pay for women, is frankly outrageous. They seem to think our equality is just a nice to have.