Pay equality laws due soon

(Getty / file)
(Getty / file)

Laws and initiatives to help bridge the pay gap between men and women are set to be unveiled before the end of the year.

Prime Minister John Key says a working group set up by the Government has reported back to Cabinet, and he's asked ministers to go away and consider the recommendations.

"By the end of the year is where we're hoping to land this," he says.

The pay disparity between men and women increased last year from an average of 9.9 percent to 11.8 based on Human Rights Commission figures.

Mr Key says the process so far has been complicated but worthwhile.

"There's been a lot of different stakeholders from the unions to the Government representatives to other interested parties like the Council of Women involved," he says.

"I would expect relatively soon, hopefully in the next few months we will be in a position to indicate where we've got to and what that might lead to next."

It won't just be about forcing pay rates to be the same, but about balancing the gender differences across different industries.

"The big issue here is trying to encourage women, particularly younger women, to move into what have historically been better-paid but male-dominated areas like engineering and science," says Mr Key.