Labour Gender Pay Gap Bill to be debated in the Seanad

Ivana Bacik TD
25 October 2017

The Labour Party’s Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017 will be debated at Committee Stage in the Seanad this evening, after passing second stage in May.

The Bill seeks to drive down the existing gender pay gap in Ireland of around 14% by requiring employers of 50 or more staff to regularly publish wage transparency surveys, highlighting any existing gender-based pay discrepancies.

Speaking ahead of this evening’s debate, Senator Ivana Bacik said:

“I am proud that this important Labour Party legislation is progressing to committee stage this evening.

“Our Bill doesn’t claim to be a ‘quick-fix’ solution to eradicating the gender pay gap, but if enacted, will certainly go a long way toward driving down any gender-based pay discrepancies.

“Nor is it controversial legislation; we’ve already seen it work in countries like Belgium where mandatory wage reporting has been instrumental in reducing the gender pay gap to less than 7%, with a similar model also being brought in in the UK.

“We know that there is currently a 14% gap in earnings between Irish men and women, or put another way, that Irish women in full time jobs are working for free for around one month every year.

“We also know that there are a number of factors behind this, such as career breaks taken by women to raise their children or care for relatives at home, the high cost of childcare acting as a deterrent for women in returning to work, the predominance of women in low paid and part-time employment, as well as the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ effect and unconscious bias that unfortunately still exists in some sections of society.

“There is also a need to shift perceptions of what are considered to be traditional ‘male’ or ‘female’ career paths, particularly in the high paid STEM related fields, where women account for just 25% of the workforce.

“And we need to address the lack of women in senior or management roles in some sectors, and increase female representation on state and private sector boards.

“But by requiring companies and organisations to regularly publish wage transparency information through the passage of Labour’s Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, we can shine a light on any gender based wage differences and move toward closing the gap completely.

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

“It’s time to close the gender pay gap and show we are serious about creating an Ireland of true equals.”

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