Labour publishes Bill aimed at tackling gender pay gap

The proposed legislation would require medium & large businesses to publish regular 'wage transparency surveys'

Labour publishes Bill aimed at tackling gender pay gap

Labour TDs Jan O'Sullivan and Brendan Howlin. Image: RollingNews.ie

The Labour party has introduced a bill that aims to 'drive efforts' to close the gender pay gap in Ireland.

Figures from Eurostat suggest the gender pay gap in the EU in 2015 stood at 16.3%, with the Irish figure slightly below average at 13.9%. Those figures reflect 'average gross hourly wage between men and women across the economy'.

Data released earlier this week indicates that a female manager in Ireland earns, on average, almost 16% less than her male counterpart.

If enacted, Labour's Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017 would require companies with more than 50 workers to publish regular 'wage transparency surveys' - which would highlight any pay differences between men and women working in the companies.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin argued: "Irish women earn around 13.9% less than men, according to the most up-to-date EU figures. Put another way that equates to women in full time employment working for free for about a month of every year."

He suggested the proposed legislation would 'tackle the issue head on'.

"It’s not enough to simply hope that organisations will volunteer this information. We have seen legislation prove effective in countries like Belgium, which has a pay gap of just under 7%," Deputy Howlin added.

The results of a recent global survey of 5,000 professionals found that Irish women were among the most likely to feel that they were not dealing with a level playing field – tied at 40% with Brazil and the US.

Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan says the party has also published a new policy document on the issue of gender inequality.

"While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, steps can be taken to pave the way for full gender equality in the workplace," Deputy O'Sullivan observed. "This must include pay, supporting women into work and tackling the glass ceiling effect."