Labour Bill to Close the Gender Pay Gap

Ivana Bacik TD
24 May 2017

Labour Party legislation that aims to close the earnings gap between men and women in Ireland will be debated in the Seanad this evening.

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 workers.

Senator Ivana Bacik, who is leading the debate in the Seanad, commented:

“We passed equal pay legislation in Ireland more than 40 years ago, in 1974, and yet women have still not achieved anything close to pay parity with our male colleagues.

“Women here currently earn around 13.9 per cent less than men –that figure equates to women in full time employment working for free in Ireland for about one month of every year.

“Despite positive moves towards greater gender equality generally, the rate of change in pay levels has become stagnant – over the past 11 years, the gender pay gap has narrowed by only four percentage points.

“The purpose of Labour’s legislation is to help firms and organisations gain greater knowledge of gender pay gaps where they exist, and to create a workplace culture which actively encourages and positively enforces gender equality measures”, concluded Senator Bacik.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin added:

“Equality and fairness have always been at the core of the Labour Party ethos, and while Ireland has come a long way on this front, women are still on an unequal footing in the workplace.

“By requiring companies of 50 or more staff to regularly report on their pay scales, Labour’s Bill, which is based on legislation in other EU countries, will help to drive down any gender-based wage discrepancies. It’s not enough to simply hope that organisations will volunteer this information.

“At present rates, it would take up to 170 years before the gender pay gap is fully closed. We in Labour believe that Irish women, and Irish society, cannot afford to wait that long, and we call on the Government to support this important and progressive legislation,”concluded Deputy Howlin.

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