On 30 March 2023, parliament passed the Workplace Gender Equality (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023. These new laws are part of a series of workplace reforms, including Respect@Work, to improve gender equity in Australian workplaces and to close the gender pay gap.
Significantly, the Respect@Work report said collecting data on the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment is a top priority to better understand the issue.
The reforms expand the information that must be reported annually to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) and help employers identify gender inequality issues in the workplace.
By submitting your report, you’re not only meeting your compliance obligations, but contributing to the Agency’s world-leading dataset on gender equality in Australian workplaces. The process can also help you identify gender equality issues and put action plans in place.WGEA website
Who do the new laws apply to?
The new laws apply to all private sector organisations and Commonwealth public sector organisations with 100 or more employees. These employers must report data each year to WGEA.
Organisations tendering for government contracts may need to satisfy a requirement to be compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
What must employers do?
The new laws require employers to:
- Provide additional information about employees including age, primary workplace location and CEO remuneration
- Share with their Board or Governing Body:
- WGEA Executive Summary report
- Industry Benchmark
- The date these reports were shared
- Have a policy or strategy for each of the six Workplace Gender Equality Indicators (applies to organisations with 500 or more employees)
- Report to WGEA on sexual harassment, harassment on the grounds of sex and discrimination
The following questions will be mandatory when reporting the incidence of sexual harassment and discrimination:
- The provisions set out in any policy/strategy, including accountabilities for:
- Preventing and responding
- The provision of training, its frequency, and its content
- The disclosure processes and management of disclosures
- Leadership statements or communication to demonstrate commitment to prevention and response
- Information about sexual harassment risk management
- Information about the prevalence data organisations currently collect
- Supports available for staff
When do the changes come into effect?
Most of the expanded reporting obligations take effect from 1 April 2024. This gives employers who are not currently collecting this data time to prepare for the new reporting requirements.
What should employers do now to prepare?
Employers should be advancing their policies, practices, systems and education for preventing, eliminating and responding to incidents of sexual harassment at work.
How can Rely help?
- Cut It Out!, powered by Rely, is a program to help employers combat sexual harassment at work and comply with Respect@Work laws. Download a brochure to learn how Cut It Out! will help you comply with regulations and build a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace.
- Book a demo to see how Rely makes reporting HR issues a breeze.