Tackling the gender pay gap is an important element in the Programme for a Partnership Government and is included as a key commitment in the Government's National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020.
The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2019 was published on 8 April 2019 and the Bill completed Dáil Committee Stage in June. Report Stage is currently awaited.
The aim of the Bill is to provide transparency on the gender pay gap. The Bill provides for the making of Regulations by the Minister for Justice and Equality requiring employers to publish gender pay gap information. The Regulations would initially apply to firms with 250 or more employees but, over the next few years, this would be reduced to 50 employees. Information on differences in bonus pay will be among the data, which must be published. The Regulations will apply to the public sector as well as the private sector, subject to the employment thresholds.
It is intended that 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.
The other gender pay gap measures in the National Strategy for Women and Girls include initiating dialogue between union and employer stakeholders on the matter, increasing understanding of the gender pay gap and its causes and developing practical tools to assist employers to calculate the pay gap within their organisations.
Tackling this issue is good for equality and that it makes good business sense, as firms which can report a low or non-existent gender pay gap will have an advantage in recruiting future employees. Initiatives to address the gender pay gap can also be expected to have a positive impact on disparities in income for women across and after their working lives.