Workplace Gender Equality Act

Last year the federal government announced changes to the current Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Cwlth). The amending bill was passed in the senate in November 2012 with the Act now known as the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012

The new Act focuses on gender equality in the workplace for both men and women, including equal remuneration and rights in relation to family and caring responsibilities. Members are encouraged to review the key changes to the act.

Your obligations

If you are an employer, generally with more than 100 employees, you are required to submit an annual report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. The report is to cover the reporting period 1 April – 31 March and be submitted to the Agency each year within the period 1 April – 31 May.  

The transition to the new reporting framework will be phased in over the next two years as outlined below.    

Report for the period 1 April 2012 – 31 March 2013

Relevant employers will be required to prepare and lodge a public workplace program which includes the employer’s ‘workplace profile’. An example workplace profile can be found on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency website. 

From this period employers must comply with the requirements to provide access to employees, shareholder and employee organisations. This includes:

  • Ensuring public reports lodged are accessible to employees and shareholders
  • Informing employee organisations of lodgment of the public report
  • Informing employees and employee organisations of the opportunity to comment on the report. 

Report for the period 1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014

Relevant employers will be required to prepare and lodge a public report which contains information relating to the employer and the following gender equality indicators (minimum standards will not yet apply):

  • Gender composition of the workforce
  • Gender composition of governing bodies of the employer (including board of directors and committees of management)
  • Equal remuneration between women and men
  • Availability and utility of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to flexible working arrangements for employees and to working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities
  • Consultation with employees on issues concerning gender equality in the workplace
  • Any other matters specified by the Minister.

Employers must continue to comply with the requirements to provide access to employees, shareholder and employee organisations. This includes:

  • Ensuring public reports lodged are accessible to employees and shareholders
  • Informing employee organisations of lodgment of the public report
  • Informing employees and employee organisations of the opportunity to comment on the report. 

Report for the period 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015

Relevant employers will be required to prepare and lodge a public report which contains information relating to the employer and to the gender equality indicators and details on how they comply with the minimum standards set by the Minister and to be announced prior to 1 April 2014.  

  • Gender composition of the workforce
  • Gender composition of governing bodies of the employer (including board of directors and committees of management)
  • Equal remuneration between women and men
  • Availability and utility of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to flexible working arrangements for employees and to working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities
  • Consultation with employees on issues concerning gender equality in the workplace
  • Any other matters specified by the Minister

Employers must continue to comply with the requirem.ents to provide access to employees, shareholder and employee organisations. This includes:

  • Ensuring public reports lodged are accessible to employees and shareholders
  • Informing employee organisations of lodgment of the public report
  • Informing employees and employee organisations of the opportunity to comment on the report. 

The report must be signed by the Chief Executive Officer, or the highest ranking corporate officer in the organisation.  

The full consequences of non-compliance with the new Act will be applicable.

Templates & guides

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency website offers a series of templates and guides to assist you in preparing your report for the 2012–13 period. The agency is also available to clarify any reporting obligations or questions you may have and can be contacted on:

  • Phone: (02) 9432 7000 or 1800 730 233
  • Fax: (02) 9432 4383
  • Email: eowa@eowa.gov.au

Need more information?

If your questions are not answered by the information provided on our website, you can phone us or email us.