Time for Ireland to close the Gender Pay Gap

26 February 2018

Labour spokesperson on Equality and General Election candidate in Dun Laoghaire, Cllr Deirdre Kingston, has said that the gender pay gaps revealed at two major British banks over the past week highlights the need for similar gender pay gap legislation in Ireland.

Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland are the first banks to publish wage transparency information since the UK brought in its gender pay gap laws requiring big companies to release such data.

Cllr Kingston said:

“The Labour Party has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce the gender pay gap here in Ireland, which we know currently stands at around 14%.

“Our Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, which passed Committee Stage back in October, would require medium to large-sized companies to regularly publish wage transparency surveys to highlight any difference in pay between their male and female workers.

“We have been arguing that by keeping the spotlight on gender-based pay discrepancies, we can help to drive down the pay gap and eventually eradicate it completely.

“We are now seeing this in the UK where large companies have begun disclosing wage scales as a result of gender pay gap legislation there, revealing startling pay differences. Female staff at the Royal Bank of Scotland are earning an average 37% less than their male colleagues, while women at Barclays earn around 26% less than men at that bank.

“The disclosure has also highlighted the issue around the bonus culture, with women at RBS receiving around 64% less in their average bonus.

“While this is just the financial services sector, we are likely to see similar results as other begin companies begin disclosing their gender pay gaps.

“These companies must now get to the bottom of why these pay gaps exist and implement change to ensure women are supported in the workplace and are given equal opportunities to reach senior roles.

“The Labour Party’s Gender Pay Gap legislation, spearheaded by my colleague Ivana Bacik in the Seanad, would ensure a similar focus is placed on Irish companies through the mandatory disclosure of gender pay gaps here.

“Shining a light on these issues will help to bring about change and so it is vital the Labour Party’s Gender Pay Gap Bill makes it onto the Statute Books.”

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