New laws to make firms reveal gender wage gaps

The Government will today agree new laws to force firms to publish details about gender wage gaps and will also approve minimum standards to prevent violence against women.

New laws to make firms reveal gender wage gaps

The Government will today agree new laws to force firms to publish details about gender wage gaps and will also approve minimum standards to prevent violence against women.

A Cabinet meeting to mark International Women’s Day will also agree to put more women on State boards.

Ways to lower the cost of contraceptives will also be studied by the Department of Health.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his ministers will hold the special meeting in Dublin city centre.

A key item will be Ireland’s agreement to ratify the Istanbul Convention with the Council of Europe. This will require the Government to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence. The convention also aims to ensure the design of policies and measures for the protection of and assistance to all victims of such violence.

Ireland originally signed the international agreement in November 2015. The Government has since agreed actions, which include training and supports for victims, while other criminal laws have been passed. The completion of these will allow the treaty to be ratified.

Once ratified, the State will also be obliged to provide support to organisations and law agencies to co-operate in combatting violence against women.

Other measures under the convention require setting up treatment programmes for violent offenders and awareness-raising campaigns. The Government, under the international rules, must also ensure that preventive measures address the needs of child victims.

Junior justice minister David Stanton will also brief Cabinet about plans to increase the number of women on state boards and new laws to ensure firms release detail about gender wage gaps.

The new pay transparency measures will require companies with a minimum number of workers to release salary and bonus pay details.

The legislation, initially published last year, will initially only affect employers with over 250 employees but this will fall to 150 employees within three years and, ultimately, to employers with 50 or more employees.

Cabinet will be updated about the Government’s national strategy for women and girls, which runs to 2020.

Health Minister Simon Harris will also tell the Cabinet this week about a working group to examine removing cost barriers to accessing contraception, as recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly on the Eighth Amendment almost two years ago. The group will look at legislation on contraception, licensing of products, and other obstacles.

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