Melbourne: Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins has called for fair pay increases to ensure we do not create an underclass of working poor in Victoria.
In a submission to the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review, the Andrews Labor Government has called on the Commission to take into account the increasing pay gap between the minimum and median wage as well as the narrowing gap between the minimum wage and the poverty line.
Hutchins said, “The Andrews Labor Government will always stand up for the value and dignity of work. All Victorians should have access to good jobs that are safe, secure and paid fairly.”
She said an increase to the national minimum wage and award wages would address growing wages inequality while maintaining employment and economic growth.
The Labor Government believes in pay equity and equal pay for work of equal or comparable value, and calls on the Commission to consider the persistent gender pay gap, an official press release on March 24 said.
Women have greater award reliance than men, coupled with less bargaining power due to the industries they are employed in.
The disadvantage that women experience in the workplace and the impact of the gender pay gap over lifetime earnings also has significant financial implications for women in retirement.
Employment is critical to social inclusion but having a job is not always enough. A job with inadequate pay can limit a person’s capacity to engage in the cultural, economic, political and social aspects of life, the release added.
The Labor Government’s submission calls on the Commission to adopt a broader understanding of the relationship between workforce participation and social inclusion. (TIW)