Bacik calls for Government to adopt Labour's gender pay gap bill

3 October 2018

gender pay gap

Senator Ivana Bacik will today in the Seanad be leading for the Labour Senators in presenting the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap Information) Bill 2017 for Report Stage. This Bill has already passed Second Stage in the Seanad with cross-party support on 24th May 2017, and Seanad Committee Stage on 25th October 2017.

The Bill would require employers to publish information demonstrating any gender pay gap that exists in their organisation. Based on legislation introduced in other EU countries, it would require companies with 50 employees or more to report regularly on any gender pay gap in the workplace. The ‘gender pay gap’ is the term used to describe the difference between the pay of women and men, calculated based on the average difference in gross hourly earnings. In 2013, the EU Commission published a major study on the gender pay gap, noting that on average, women in the EU earn about 16 per cent less per hour than men. The EU figures show that in Ireland, women currently earn around 13.9 per cent less than men. That figure equates to women in full time employment working for free in Ireland for about one month of every year.

Speaking today, Senator Bacik said:

“Labour’s pay transparency bill aims to tackle ongoing gender inequality head on. We have seen this type of legislation prove effective in countries like Belgium, which now has a pay gap of just under 7 per cent. Gender pay gap reporting has also recently been implemented in Britain, where new regulations require companies with 250 or more staff to record how much they pay men and how much they pay women, and to publish the figures on their websites.

“Despite positive moves towards greater gender equality in Ireland in recent years, the rate of change on the pay gap has become stagnant - over the past 11 years, the gender pay gap has narrowed by only four percentage points. At present rates, it would take up to 170 years before it fully closes.

“We need to take action on this now; the government has promised to introduce their own legislation to tackle the gender pay gap, but this has not yet been published and would be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny prior to being introduced in the Oireachtas. By contrast, it is anticipated that our Labour Bill will pass Report stage tonight without government opposition. We would see far speedier introduction of pay transparency legislation if the government simply adopted and amended our Labour Bill, and I call on the Minister to take that approach.”