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What workplace rights do women have when negotiating a pay rise? - Australian Women Online

By Alan J. McDonald


Many employees, especially women are reluctant to broach the topic of a pay increase with their employer for fear of consequences. McDonald Murholme Lawyer Bianca Mazzarella discusses the protections of the Fair Work Act 2009 (cth) and the implications of avoiding these conversations.

See below article for further details.

What workplace rights do women have when negotiating a pay rise?

Many employees find the subject of salary difficult to broach with their manager, especially women.

Recently, a survey from Earnest– a lending company in San Francisco, titled The Nuances of Job Negotiation, found that out of a group of 18 – 24 year olds, 42 per cent of male employees were likely to request a pay increase compared to only 26 per cent of their female counterparts.

According to McDonald Murholme lawyer Bianca Mazzarella, there is a hesitation among female employees to negotiate a salary increase in Australian workplaces due to a lack of confidence.

“Many women fear that they may jeopardise their career or are not deserving of a pay rise which may result in being unfairly treated if they make the request,” Ms Mazzarella said.

“Women are disadvantaging themselves by avoiding these conversations with their employer, either at the beginning of their employment or at a reasonable time to request a pay increase, such as during a performance review.”

“From a legal stance, all employees are protected under the Fair Work Act 2009 (cth) from any consequences they may face as a result of asking for a pay rise, such as dismissal or discrimination.”

“The reason for being denied a reasonable request for a pay increase or promotion may be due to gender discrimination.”

According to Australian Super, this unwillingness found among women is deepening the superannuation gap between men and women, with women retiring with around half the amount of super as men.

“If you feel you have been unfairly treated due to requesting a pay rise, you can lodge a general protections claim pursuant to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth),” Ms Mazzarella says.

“This sort of claim will enable you to seek compensation in the event that adverse action has been taken against you by virtue of you requesting a pay increase from your employer.

“Adverse action includes demotion, being placed on a performance improvement program or termination.”

Reference: What rights do women have when negotiating a pay increase? Australian Women Online, 12th July 2016.