LABOUR BILL TO CLOSE THE GENDER PAY GAP

Issued 9 March 2017

The Labour Party has today published legislation that aims to drive efforts towards closing the gender pay gap in Ireland.

The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017 requires medium to large-sized companies to regularly publish wage transparency surveys that would highlight any difference in pay between their male and female employees.

Commenting on the publication of the Bill, Labour Leader and Justice spokesperson, Brendan Howlin TD, said that despite making strides over the years, Ireland still had some way to go towards achieving full gender equality in the workplace.

“One glaring example of this is in the area of pay, where Irish women earn around 13.9 per cent 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“, commented Deputy Howlin.

“Labour’s Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017 aims to tackle this issue head on, by requiring companies with 50 workers or more to regularly report on the gender pay gap among their employees. 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 per cent.”

As part of International Women’s Week, the Labour Party has also published ‘Closing the Gap’, a new policy document to tackle gender inequality in the workplace.

“Labour understands that there is a range of factors, including the issue of unconscious bias, which contributes to gender inequality in the workplace,” commented spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Jan O’Sullivan.

“Throughout our new policy paper we outline that while there is no one-size-fits-all solution,steps can be taken to pave the way for full gender equality in the workplace. This must include pay, supporting women into work and tackling the glass ceiling effect,”concluded Deputy O'Sullivan.

Welcoming the publication of ‘Closing the Gap’, Senator Ivana Bacik said that more needs to be done to pave the way for women to play an equal role in all realms of business, political and public life.

“We believe that the time has come to increase the 40 per cent target for the representation of women on State boards to 45 per cent,” said Senator Bacik.

“And we will argue that a minimum target of 30% should exist in relation to every single state board, so that the voices of women are heard in sectors such as finance, employment and agriculture, just as they are already heard in health, education and children.”