- Firms with 250 plus employees will be first to have new obligations
- New rules will apply to public and private firms
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, today announced the publication of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill. The Bill has been presented to Dáil Eireann where it now awaits Second Stage.
Minister Flanagan said: “The aim of this Bill is to provide transparency on the Gender pay gap. I believe firms which can report a low or non-existent pay gap will be at an advantage in recruiting future employees and I hope mandatory reporting will incentivise employers to take measures to address the issue insofar as they can. Measures such as those included in the Bill have been taken in a number of other countries and, indeed, EU Member States were encouraged to take such measures in an EU Commission Recommendation of 2014.“
Under the Bill, the Minister will make regulations obliging employers to publish information relating to their gender pay gap. The provision will apply initially in firms of 250 or more employees with the threshold reducing to 50 when the legislation is fully operational. The requirement will apply in the private and public sectors and the Bill also provides that employers must set out the measures, if any, they are taking to eliminate or reduce any pay gap.
Minister of State Stanton added: “This Bill is one element in a substantial programme of work by Government to promote gender equality, all within the framework of the National Strategy for Women and Girls. It has benefitted from the extensive consultation in which we have engaged both in late 2017 / early 2018 and since the publication of the General Scheme of the Bill last June. We have also had the advantage of the pre-legislative scrutiny Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality. Minister Flanagan and I have ensured that the Bill reflects the feedback we have received to the greatest extent possible.”
The detailed information that must be published under the Ministerial regulations includes the mean and median gap in hourly pay between men and women; the mean and median gap in bonus pay between men and women; the mean and median gap in hourly pay of part-time male and female employees; the percentage of men and of women who received bonus pay; and the percentage of men and of women who received benefits in kind.
The regulations may also require the publication of information on employees on temporary contracts, the percentage of employees in each of the four pay quartiles who are men and who are women and the publication of information by reference to job classifications.
Publication will be required annually.
Notes to Editors:
The Bill published today, available here, implements a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government.
The Bill makes provision to ensure that personal data is protected.
It will be for the Ministerial regulations to set out the form in which publication must take place. Possibilities are the employer’s website and a central website maintained by or on behalf of the Department.
As regards enforcement, the Minister may appoint designated officers to investigate how employers prepare the information for publication to ensure its accuracy. Designated officers will have powers to enter premises, obtain information, and require persons to provide information.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) is given power to apply to the Circuit Court for an order requiring a person to comply with the Ministerial regulations. A person who fails to comply with a Circuit Court order is in contempt of that Court.
Also, an individual employee may make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) of non-compliance with reporting regulations by their employer. The WRC, if it finds in favour of the employee, may order the employer to take a specified course of action in order to comply.