Why You Should Leave Work At 3.53pm Today

ood morning and welcome to Equal Pay Day.

Well not good morning as such, and welcome probably isn’t quite the right word either. And while we’re at it, equal is just ridiculous. Let me try again.

Equal Pay Day is here. And my condolences, ladies. Every day that we have worked this financial year has gone completely unpaid.

August 28 officially marks Equal Pay Day 2019. Meaning that now, and only now, we will begin to be paid equally as our male co-workers for the rest of this financial year.

Every year, the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency publishes new findings on the state of pay equality in Australia. According to the latest report, the national gender pay gap currently stands at 14.0%.

Explainer: What is the gender pay gap? Plus, Equal Pay Day for 2019 has been announced, prepare to get fired up.

Wednesday 28 August marks the 59 additional days from the end of the previous financial year that women must work to earn the same pay as men.

Equal Pay Day is not a happy day. It is symbolic of the unacceptable inequality that continues to exist within our country. It’s not a day to celebrate, but it is a day to take a stand. If we get paid 14% less than the blokes, then today we work 14% less than the blokes. At 3:53pm, grab your female co-workers and get the hell out of the office. Tie up two months of being ripped off with this one tiny but significant gesture.

The pay gap is calculated by comparing the average weekly full-time base salary earnings of men and women. According to the report, women working full-time earned $1484.80 a week, while men working full-time earned $1726.30 – a difference of $241.50.

This is a national average, and a terribly disappointing one at that. But the pay gap is even larger than 14% in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia. In fact in WA, men are earning an astonishing $419.40 more than women a week. Put simply, men could chuck two sickies a week every week, and still come out on top.

And this pay gap is even greater for women of colour and those with a disability.

2019 marks 50 years since Australian women won the right to equal pay. And yet here we are five decades later, being forced to bang on about the exact same unresolved issue.

In 1969, Australian women first won the right to pay equality through the equal pay to equal work principle. According to the women’s rights activists then, this meant it was official – women had won! The law was on our side and things were set to be corrected. But they haven’t been.

How disappointing it is that 50 years down the track, we’re yet to see pay equality even in our own working lifetimes. A grandmother, a mother, and a daughter shouldn’t have to protest the exact same issue. And yet, here we are. The gender pay gap has only reduced by 0.1% over the last six months. Is progress really progress when it moves at such a glacial pace?

Our grandmothers and our mothers fought for equality. We are fighting for equality. And by the looks of things, our daughters and granddaughters will carry this burden as well.

Leaving work at 3:53pm today is not radical, it’s right. If the system is not overhauled, this inequality will perpetuate. Generations of women will be stuck in this rotating this same rhetoric, begging for a seat at the table, only to be served a platter of apathy.

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Forward this story to your boss. Pack up your things and go at 3:53pm. Support women led businesses. Look out for your female employees and co-workers.

Institutional change is the only thing going to mend this crisis. But never underestimate the power of one small gesture.

This article originally appeared on WHIMN and is republished here with permission.

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