Time for Ireland to close the Gender Pay Gap

5 April 2018

gender pay gap

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has said the new British wage transparency reporting law has shone an important light on the existence of a substantial gender pay gap there, and that it is time for similar legal provisions to be introduced in Ireland.

The Labour Party’s Gender Pay Gap Information Bill passed Committee Stage in the Seanad last October 2017, and is awaiting progression to Report stage.

Senator Bacik said:

“The passing of the deadline for large companies in Britain to publish wage transparency surveys has thrown up some pretty startling figures.

“According to the data, more than three quarters of British companies pay women on average less than their male colleagues.

“While this might confirm what many had suspected, these figures are certainly a wake-up call for employers right across Britain, and indeed also here in Ireland.

“We know that Irish women are paid around 14 per cent less than men, meaning those in full time employment work for free for around one month a year, or clock off financially at around 3.50pm every day.

“The rate of change in pay levels has become stagnant - over the past 11 years, the pay gap has narrowed by only four percentage points.

“However the very fact that the gender pay gap is back in the headlines today , and is likely being discussed in offices and workplaces right across the UK, is testament to the effectiveness of wage transparency reporting.

“Since last May, the Labour Party has been arguing the case for similar legislation here in Ireland, and our Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, if enacted, would require medium to large-sized companies to regularly publish wage transparency surveys that would highlight any difference in pay between their male and female workers.

“We believe, as we are now seeing in the UK, that by shining the spotlight on any gender based pay discrepancies, companies can address and remedy such inequalities where they exist.

“There is now a general acceptance that some form of gender pay gap reporting is essential to help drive down the gap, which still exists despite passing equal pay legislation in Ireland more than 40 years ago.

“We have been working with Minister Stanton on our legislation, which passed committee stage in the Seanad in October 2017, and I am hopeful that the Bill will be progressed to Report stage and into the Dáil this year.

"Ireland has seen much social change on many issues over the years. Labour has been at the forefront of many progressive social campaigns, and we are also leading on this one, to ensure that gender-based pay inequality finally becomes a thing of the past."