Legislation tackling gender pay gap published by Government

Charlie Flanagan and David Stanton have announced the publication of the Government's gender pay gap legislation.

The General Scheme of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill was approved by the Cabinet today.

The bill will compel employers with a certain number of employees to publish information on the gender pay gap in their firm.

The bill will affect companies with 250 or more employees but that number will fall to 50 or more after an initial period of operation for bigger firms.

The bill will apply to both public and private sectors.

Companies will have to publish data relating to differences in hourly pay, information on differences in bonus pay, part-time pay and pay of men and women on temporary contracts.

The enforcement mechanisms will include a power for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to apply to the Circuit Court for an order requiring an employer to comply with the legislation.

An employee of the employer concerned may also apply to the Workplace Relations Commission for an order requiring compliance.

There is a provision for designated officers who would investigate a sample of employers to ensure that the information published is accurate.

"This Government is committed to gender equality," said Mr Flanagan in a statement.

"Both the Programme for Government and our Second National Strategy for Women and Girls commits to wage transparency measures to tackle the gender pay gap.

In this significant year, the centenary of women’s voting rights, I am pleased, along with Minister Stanton, to bring forward these legislative proposals.

"The gender pay gap has rightly attracted increased attention in recent times both in Ireland and internationally.

"While Ireland compares relatively well with the rest of the EU as regards the size of the gender pay gap – 13.9% compared with an EU 28 figure of 16.7% in 2014 – put simply, we want gender equality in Ireland and we are committed to tackling the gender pay gap.

"These pay transparency measures are part of a wider package of measures to promote gender equality."

Mr Stanton added: "This is an important measure to help reduce the gender pay gap by publishing information about it at the firm level, thus furnishing a deeper insight into the causes of the gap and facilitating employers in addressing it."

- Digital Desk

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