Recognition at Last: Care Work and the Equal Remuneration Case

Natasha Cortis*, Gabrielle Meagher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Despite decades of intervention to promote equal pay, the gender wage gap in Australia persists. A key explanation is that equal pay strategies have had limited capacity to address the subtle, historical undervaluation that keep wages low in highly feminized areas of employment, especially where care work is performed. In this article, we examine a recent attempt to address the undervaluation of care work through a test case of the expanded equal remuneration clause in the Fair Work Act 2009. A highly feminized area of employment, the social and community services industry proved a strategic context for the case. We discuss three significant aspects of the case: the recognition given to the undervaluation of care work; the divergent interests of non-government sector employers and business associations; and strong contestation over who should pay, arising from the government's third-party role as purchaser of social and community services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-385
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


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