Further delays in gender pay gap legislation disappointing

26 June 2018

National Women's Council event on Gender Pay Gap
At NWCI event “No Small Change” 23 November 2017: Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, Orla O’Connor, Martina Fitzgerald, Sarah Durcan, Emma O’Kelly, and Ivana Bacik

Labour Seanad Leader, Ivana Bacik has welcomed the move by the Government to finally approve and publish their own gender pay gap reporting bill, but said she was disappointed at the delays to date and the length of time it will take to pass the bill, noting that Labour's Bill passed committee stage a year ago and had been awaiting Government amendments.

Senator Bacik said:

"It is well over a year since May 2017 when my gender pay gap reporting bill passed committee stage in the Seanad, and we've been waiting for alternative proposals to be published by the Government until today.

"While it is welcome that the Minister for Justice has finally moved to get Cabinet approval for their own Bill, I would have expected that in that time, it could have prepared amendments to our Bill to ensure this measure became law as soon as possible.

"The reality is that even after today, the bill will not likely be debated in either House before the recess, and won't become law until at least 2019. Meanwhile similiar proposals have been implemented in other countries and are showing real results.

"Labour's Bill would compel companies to regularly publish wage transparency surveys, subsequently highlighting any gender-based pay discrepancies

"Despite positive moves towards greater gender equality generally, the rate of change in pay levels has become stagnant - over the past 11 years, the gender pay gap has narrowed by only four percentage points.

"If we don’t take action now to address the gender pay gap, it could take up to 170 years before we achieve pay equality. Women have already waited long enough - in the centenary year of women’s suffrage and the year we repealed the 8th amendment, we need effective change now to achieve real equality."