Gender pay gap disclosure bill approved by Senators

Senator Ivana Bacik
Senator Ivana Bacik

A bill mandating companies with over 50 employees to publish information about any pay gap between men and women in their organisation has been approved by Senators.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap Information) Bill 2017 was overwhelmingly approved at the second stage debate yesterday and will now proceed to committee stage.

The bill assigns new powers to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to make mandatory information disclosure schemes.

Under such schemes, specified categories of employers would be required to compile and publish pay gap information. Contravention by an employer of the provisions of a scheme would be an offence. Schemes would not apply to employers of fewer than 50 employees.

Senator Ivana Bacik, the Labour politician who moved the bill, said: “Labour’s Bill, which is based on legislation in other EU countries, will help to drive down any gender-based wage discrepancies.

“This is not controversial legislation, as a similar model has been implemented in the UK. In Belgium, it has been instrumental in reducing the gender pay gap to less than 7 per cent, compared to the 13.9 per cent gap in Ireland.

“The current gap means that in Ireland women in full time employment work for free for about one month of every year.

“We passed equal pay legislation in Ireland more than 40 years ago, in 1974, and yet women have still not achieved anything close to pay parity with our male colleagues. This Bill, when passed into law, will help close that pay gap.”

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