Labour hopeful gender pay legislation will come into force next year

A new campaign is warning that women are effectively working for free from today until the end of the year

Legislation on tackling the gender pay gap should come into force early next year.

It comes as a new campaign gets underway warning that from today until the end of the year, women are effectively working for free - because of the 14% gap in gender pay.

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said her legislation requiring larger companies to publish the details of their pay, should make a difference:

"We have seen this model work in other countries, in Belgium for example," she said. "It is just being introduced in Britain this year and it has been introduced in Australia some years ago."

"We know that it works and it is a carrot approach because it requires employers to publish data but it also enables them to address a gender pay gap where it exists.

"I am glad the government has accepted the legislation and I am hopeful it will become law next year."

Dress for Success

The Dress for Success campaign has designated today as Ireland's Equal Pay Day to raise awareness of the issue.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign this morning, leading jewellery designer Chupi Sweetman warned that women often have to hide their age and relationship in job interviews:

"When women come in to interview my friends tell me they take off their wedding rings, they take off their engagement rings," she said.

"You don't want to be a woman in your 30s interviewing because all an employer is looking at is the chance you are going to get pregnant and leave."

The Dress for Success campaign aims to raise awareness of the issue while working with policymakers,  employers and other key stakeholders to consider measures to ensure full workplace equality.

Halligan controversy

Ms Sweetman was speaking as the controversy continues surrounding interview questions posed by junior minister John Halligan to a woman in a department job interview.

Senator Bacik has insisted Deputy Halligan should resign after asking the woman if she was married and if she had children.

The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said he does not believe Deputy Halligan's conduct constitutes a "hanging offence."

Gender Pay Gap Information Bill

The Labour Party's Gender Pay Gap Information Bill passed Committee stage in the Seanad on October 25th.

If enacted, the bill would oblige larger companies to publish transparent gender pay data - highlighting any existing gender-based pay discrepancies.

The party has said the legislation has already received cross-party support.