Complying with the Act

You will comply with the Act if you:

  • submit an annual report with the required data on time
  • have your CEO sign the public report
  • comply with notification and access requirements in section 1.5
  • if your organisation has 500 or more employees, you must meet the minimum standard or if they are not met, improve against them within two reporting periods
  • give us information to review your compliance if we ask
  • do not include anything false or misleading in your report or in the extra compliance information we request.

The Agency issues compliance letters to confirm that an organisation is compliant with its obligations under the Act. For reporting organisations, compliance letters are available to download from the online portal once an employer has been assessed as compliant. Compliance letters are issued 28 days after the organisation has submitted a fully compliant report (there must be no outstanding data quality items to be addressed).

Employers will receive an email informing them when their compliance letter is available to download from the portal.

Organisations tendering for government contracts may need to satisfy a requirement to be compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012

  • For organisations that have reported your compliance letter fulfils this requirement. 
  • For non-public sector organisations with 100 or more employees who are not registered with the Agency you will need to register to be compliant until your first submission is due. Please visit the Do you need to report? section.
  • For organisations that are not required to report as they have less than 100 employees across their entire structure, please contact the Agency via email to request a tender letter. In your request please include the following information: 
    • Legal name of organisation;
    • ABN;
    • Total employee count across all employing entities;
    • Address;
    • Name, title and salutation of the CEO/head of business; and
    • The name of the government department or agency you are tendering.

You must report annually against six gender equality indicators (GEIs) in the Act in your:

  • workplace profile
  • reporting questionnaire.

The gender equality indicators are as follows:

GEI Gender equality area
1 Gender composition of your workforce
2 Gender composition of your governing bodies
3 Equal remuneration between women and men
4 Availability and utility of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to:
  • flexible working arrangements for employees
  • working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities
5 Consultation with employees on workplace gender equality issues
6 Any other matters specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument: sex-based harassment and discrimination

The Workplace Gender Equality (Minimum Standards) Instrument 2014 sets the minimum standard for the areas listed below in the reporting questionnaire. The minimum standard is:

  • an extra compliance requirement for relevant employers with 500 or more employees in their corporate structure
  • the least an employer must do to show commitment to workplace gender equality and diversity.

If you are a relevant employer with 500 or more employees, you must have a formal policy or strategy in at least one of the following minimum standards:

  Question Minimum standard
  1.1 - 1.9

Asks if you have formal policies or strategies to support gender equality in at least one of the nine different areas:

  • recruitment
  • retention
  • performance management
  • promotions
  • identification of talent and high potential employees
  • succession planning
  • training and development
  • gender equality KPIs for managers
  • gender equality overall.
  3, 3.1

Asks if you have a formal policy or strategy on remuneration and if it includes gender pay equity goals. Gender pay equity is when women and men receive equal pay for work of the same or similar value

  10

Asks if you have a formal policy or strategy to support employees with family and caring responsibilities. This relates to an employee’s role as the parent (biological, step, adoptive or foster), guardian or carer of:

  • a child
  • a parent
  • a spouse or domestic partner
  • a close relative
  • anyone else dependent on them for care.
  16

Asks if you have a policy or strategy to prevent sex-based harassment and discrimination. As an employer, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring a harassment-free workplace.

If you do not meet the minimum standard by having a policy or strategy in place in one of these areas, you have two reporting periods to improve before you risk becoming non-compliant.

Standardised reporting under the Act lets us give you:

  • customised, confidential Competitor Analysis Benchmark Reports (CABRs) to help you understand your relative performance and set strategies for long-term change
  • aggregated national public benchmark data by industry (industry data is also publicly available in our Data Explorer)

But quality CABRs depend on the data you give us in your report. To ensure benchmark data is meaningful and comparable over time, you must:

  • accurately classify your employees in the manager and non-manager categories in section 2.3 for each entity in a corporate structure
  • accurately calculate remuneration data in your workplace profile
  • make sure your answers in the questionnaire reflect shared industry interpretations of key workplace gender equality concepts and terms.

When you upload your workplace profile to our online portal in line with section 1.4, we will:

  • validate your data
  • tell you about possible data entry or quality errors.

For more information, see the data quality troubleshooting section of our website.

Under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, employers must comply with the new notification and access requirements. These require each relevant employer to:

  1. Inform its employees and members or shareholders  that it has lodged its report with the Agency and advise how the report may be accessed
  2. Provide access to the report to employees and members or shareholders
  3. Inform employee organisations with members in its workplace that the report has been lodged
  4. Inform its employees and those employee organisations with members in its workplace of the opportunity to comment on the report to the employer or the Agency

There is no time restriction on when comments can be provided. However, comments provided to the relevant employer or the Agency, during the 28 days after a report has been submitted, will allow for those comments to be taken into account by the employer in providing additional information to the Agency, and by the Agency in requesting additional information to assist in assessing compliance with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

Notification and access requirements explanations

Inform its employees and members or shareholders  that it has lodged its report with the Agency and advise how the report may be accessed

As soon as reasonably practicable after lodging a report, a relevant employer must inform employees and any members or shareholders that the report has been lodged with the Agency and how the report may be accessed. Notification to employees could occur through an organisation’s normal means of communication with employees, including employee newsletters, workplace meetings and any other appropriate existing consultative means. The method used must ensure that the information concerning the organisation’s gender equality report was transmitted widely to all employees.

In the case of shareholders of a public company, given there may be more limited opportunities to communicate with them, notification could occur, for example, in the next available annual report and on the employer’s website.

Provide access to the report to employees and members or shareholders

As soon as reasonably practicable after lodging a report, a relevant employer must provide its employees and members or shareholders with access to its report (excluding personal information, details on remuneration and other information that may be specified by the Minister).  An employer could fulfil this requirement by ensuring employees are clearly provided with, for example, a link to a website or intranet site where a copy of the report could be downloaded, or a hard copy of the report.

Inform employee organisations with members in its workplace that the report has been lodged

Within seven days after lodging a report, relevant employers must take all reasonable steps to inform each employee organisation that has members in its workforce that its report has been lodged with the Agency.

This requirement does not mean an intensive effort is required by employers to identify all possible employee organisations. Rather, employers must notify employee organisations they could reasonably be expected to know about. This would include an employee organisation that was a party to an Enterprise Agreement or an employee organisation to which membership fees are paid by payroll deductions.

Inform its employees and those employee organisations with members in its workplace of the opportunity to comment on the report to the employer or the Agency

When informing employees or employee organisations that have members in the workplace that a report has been lodged, a relevant employer must advise them that comments on the report may be given to the relevant employer or to the Agency.

There is no time restriction on when comments can be provided. However, comments provided to the relevant employer or the Agency, during the 28 days after a report has been submitted, will allow for those comments to be taken into account by the employer in providing additional information to the Agency, and by the Agency in requesting additional information to assist in assessing compliance with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

We can review your compliance with the Act:

  • by asking you for more information
  • randomly
  • after assessing comments your employees or employee organisations have made.

We issue compliance letters:

  • to confirm that you meet your obligations under the Act
  • 28 days after you submit a fully compliant report
  • that you can download from our online portal once we deem you compliant, and we will email you to tell you this.

But if you do not comply:

  • we can name your organisation in a letter to the Minister or by electronic or other means
  • you may not be eligible to tender for contracts under Commonwealth and some state procurement frameworks
  • you may not be eligible for some Commonwealth grants or other financial help.
Workplace profile worksheets

These are the blank workplace profile template worksheets for both the unit level and aggregated options to be used to prepare your workplace profile data.

Salary calculator

This calculator helps organisations convert the salaries of casual, part-time, contract or part-year employees to annualised, full-time equivalent salaries for use in the workplace profile.