Labour Senators Call for Urgent Introduction of Gender Pay Gap Law

8 March 2021

gender pay gap

On International Women’s Day today, the Labour Senators have put down a Matter on the Commencement of the Seanad, calling on the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to make a statement on the proposed timeline for the introduction of gender pay gap legislation. This Matter will be taken this morning at approximately 11am in the Seanad and a response will be provided by the Minister.

Speaking on the Commencement Matter, Labour spokesperson on Equality, Ivana Bacik who has campaigned on this issue for many years, said the government should urgently act to pass the Labour gender pay gap bill which is currently at Committee stage in the Dáil

Senator Bacik said:

“Another year has passed, and despite many commitments, the government’s Gender Pay Gap Information Bill still hasn’t progressed any further in the Dáil which is disappointing but not surprising.

“Every year, 9th November marks Equal Pay Day, recognising that Ireland’s gender pay gap of 14.4% effectively means women work for free for the rest of the year. Put another way, women stop getting paid at around 4pm every day.

“We urgently need legislation to address this continued discrimination against women in the workplace. We also need to see increased workplace flexibility and a public childcare scheme which are essential parts of the package of supports needed to support women at work.

Labour Senator Marie Sherlock said:

“In 2018, a Bill to tackle the gender pay gap that Labour had introduced passed through all stages in the Seanad and through Second Stage in the Dáil 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 continues to sit at report stage.

“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 our Labour 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.”


Notes to Editors

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.

The Labour Party’s Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap Information) Bill 2017 passed all stages in the Seanad by 3rd October 2018; it passed Second Stage in the Dáil and was referred to Committee Stage there in November 2018. It was then overtaken by the Government-sponsored Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2019, which passed Second Stage and completed Select Committee Stage in 2019.