Australia's national female soccer (football) team,
the Matildas, has boycotted a tour to the US over ongoing pay
disputes. While Football Federation Australia no doubt enjoyed
seeing Kyah Simon put the ball in the back of the net 3 times
during the last World Cup, this is an unwelcome strike (zing! No
this is serious). The public debate over the gender pay gap
continues and central to it is the Matildas' industrial
Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between
the Professional Footballers Association (representing the
Matildas) and FFA have stalled and the Matildas have gone two
months with no pay cheque. Key to the dispute is the meagre
remuneration the Matildas receive which is only highlighted by how
much more the Socceroos get – try $500 versus $6500 for a
standard international or $1,250 versus $11,500 for a tournament
semi final. For perspective, that's worse than the goal ratio
between Brazil and Germany in the Semi - Final of the men's
2014 World Cup (had to get it in there somewhere).
Now, back to the meagreness. Matildas players reportedly earn a
minimum base salary of $21,000 (below the minimum full time wage of
$656.90 per week). The FFA calls that remuneration for part time
work but reports from the PFA indicate the players are performing a
full time role. Issue? Yes. We haven't seen it yet but that
disagreement could turn itself into an underpayment claim and
another headache for the FFA.
And that's not the only disagreement, as the FFA recently
knocked back the PFA's proposal for a paid maternity leave
scheme which, among other things, would have had the FFA covering
the cost of the children's or carers' costs during team
camps. Contrast that with the fact that Australia's other
champion female sports team, the Diamonds, receive those benefits
and it starts to look like an own goal for the FFA (had to get it
in there somewhere).
The FFA, like all employers, is under no obligation to provide a
paid maternity leave scheme or to pay the players other than in
compliance with the minimum wage or an applicable modern award or
enterprise agreement. But the players have had their say and the
FFA will have a fight on its hands if it wants to keep its business
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An employee that refused a reasonable offer of settlement was ordered by the FWC to pay his ex-employer's legal costs.
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