Bacik says Council of Europe finding underlines urgent need to tackle pay gap

30 June 2020

Ivana Bacik

Following yesterday’s finding by the Council of Europe European Committee of Social Rights that Ireland is in violation of the European Social Charter on women’s rights to equality at work, Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has called on the new Government to legislate urgently to close the gender pay gap.

Senator Bacik said:

“It is disappointing, although not surprising, to see this Council of Europe finding on Ireland’s efforts to close the gender pay gap. In 2018, a Bill to tackle the gender pay gap that I had proposed with my Labour colleagues passed through all stages in the Seanad and through Second Stage in the Dail with strong support from across both Houses. Despite this, the previous government failed to progress it and instead chose to introduce its own weaker legislation, which has now lapsed.

“The Council of Europe has pointed out that Ireland has not provided adequate data on comparative earnings of Irish women and men; and that this is hampering efforts to tackle workplace gender discrimination. The most recent statistics provided by Ireland relate to 2014 – when it was shown that the hourly gender pay gap was 13.9% - meaning that Irish women work for free for around one month each year.

“A commitment has been made by the incoming government to introduce legislation requiring the publication of gender pay gap data in large companies. This is welcome, but much less ambitious than my own Bill, which would have compelled any organisation with more than 50 employees to publish gender pay gap data, as well as introducing a substantial fine for those which did not take remedial action to meet their obligations under the legislation.

“Ireland has made significant strides towards achieving gender equality, but we have some distance still to go. The government must prioritise brining forward legislation to tackle our gender pay gap, in order to demonstrate its commitment to gender equality and to comply with its obligations under the European Social Charter.”