Unions say an increase in the minimum wage is a crucial part of supporting women to remain in the workforce and plays an important role in closing the gender pay gap.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said a raise in the minimum wage would boost the pay-packets of well over 1 million low paid women.

“The Fair Work Commission needs to consider the issue of pay equity as they make their ultimate decision in coming months,” Mr Oliver said.

“Including the 58 per cent of minimum wage earners who are women and the workers who earn just above the minimum wage – the greatest proportion of who are women – over 1 million of the lowest paid female workers stand to benefit from a much needed pay bump.”

New research from Wright and Buchanan conducted in 2014 for the Fair Work Commission found that low paid award-reliant employees were more likely to be female, employed on a casual basis and working part time hours.

“This new research shows that every time the Commission raises the minimum wage the flow on also benefits those workers earning just above the minimum and we know that most of them are women,” he said.

“Our submission will outline for the Fair Work Commission how a modest raise of the minimum wage contributes towards reducing Australia’s shameful Gender Pay Gap while also giving 1 million low paid women some wage reprieve.”

“In addition to improving wage inequity, raising the minimum wage will encourage more women to enter the workforce, which is good news for the economy.”

Women continue to be paid less across every occupational group, Mr Oliver added.

“I’ve have four kids, two boys and two girls and in the same way they are treated equally at home I expect they should be able to enter the workforce and receive equal pay based on their work, not their gender.”

“That’s the kind of Australia most people want and yet pay inequality remains persistent.”

“The gap between what women and men earn is still too high and while it won’t be fixed in one foul swoop, we need to chip away at the policies and culture that allow it to exist.”

“Raising the minimum wage will help over 1 million women, many of who are caring for dependents, can’t buy a home and a large percentage of their wage goes towards rental accommodation.

“The reason many of these women are in low paid work is often also linked to their caring responsibilities meaning that looking after family costs them greatly financially.

“Allowing the gap between the average earner and the minimum wage earner to widen further will undoubtedly affect the lives of women.”