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Gender Pay Gap Reporting in Ireland

Gender Pay Gap Reporting in Ireland

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What is the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is the difference between what women in aggregate are paid, compared to men.  The gender pay gap can be distinguished from the concept of equal pay between males and females for performing equal work.  Equal pay has been regulated in Irish Law for many years, whereas gender pay gap reporting is an entirely new proposal.

Most employers have a gender pay gap. This does not necessarily mean that an employer has an equal pay issue. The causes of the gender pay gap can vary from employer and can be influenced by a variety of issues, including less women being in senior roles in the company or the majority of lower paid jobs being filled by women. Some of these factors are intentional, many are unintentional, and not all are within an employers’ immediate control.

Status of gender pay gap legislation in Ireland

The general scheme of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill (the “Bill”) was approved by cabinet in June 2018. The Bill has been placed on the Government’s priority list for publication this autumn. It is planned that the legislation will require publication of gender pay data in both public and private sector entities with over 250 employees. The threshold will gradually fall to just 50.

Employers will be required to publish differences in hourly pay, bonus pay, part-time pay and pay of men and women on temporary contracts. Publication of differences in pay by reference to job classifications may also be required. The precise methodology and reporting obligations are yet to be determined.

What will this legislation require employers to do?

The proposal legislation will not make it unlawful for employers to have a gender pay gap.  Clearly, this would be excessive as it is not something that employers can be expected to reduce or eliminate in the short term. However, by requiring employers to present those statistics, highlighting the extent of the issue in each case, it will force employers to take action to address the factors causing the pay gap in their own organisation.

Why does it matter?

Closing the gender pay gap is a key to promoting inclusivity and in attracting and retaining talent. It is also good for business. Recent research has confirmed that gender diversity at senior level has a significant impact on productivity growth and on returns to investors.

What should employers do now?

We know the legislation is coming and now is the time for employers to create their action plan. A proactive approach to gender pay gap reporting can be turned into an opportunity for Irish employers to promote their initiatives and to gain a competitive advantage in the labour market.

How can we help?

  • Legal Compliance and Risk Management: We can advise you on your gender reporting and equal pay obligations and the preparatory steps for compliance with reporting obligations. We will also keep you up to date on any developments in the area.
  • Equal Pay Audits: We work closely with leading data analytics and software specialists to provide you with the tools to analyse your organisation’s data and to prepare a gender pay audit. Our involvement in the conduct of equal pay audits can assist to preserve confidentiality and make the analysis of any gender inequalities legally privileged, where possible.
  • External and Internal Communications: We also work closely with PR specialists with extensive experience in the field of gender pay reporting to provide you with bespoke advice on the reputational opportunities and challenges of gender pay reporting, and to help you to develop your narratives and communications efforts.
  • Remedial Action: We can advise you in relation to diversity and inclusion initiatives, pay policies, and training materials. We can also assist you in the provision of training on matters of equality law and gender pay gap reporting compliance.
  • Market Trends: As advisors to a very large number of UK and US headquartered organisations operating globally that have already been through this process, we can give you the benefit of our insight into what employers are doing to tackle these issues.

Contact Employment Group Senior Associate Alice Duffy on +353 1 232 2416 or via email on alice.duffy@matheson.com, or your usual contact at Matheson.

What is the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is the difference between what women in aggregate are paid, compared to men.  The gender pay gap can be distinguished from the concept of equal pay between males and females for performing equal work.  Equal pay has been regulated in Irish Law for many years, whereas gender pay gap reporting is an entirely new proposal.

Most employers have a gender pay gap. This does not necessarily mean that an employer has an equal pay issue. The causes of the gender pay gap can vary from employer and can be influenced by a variety of issues, including less women being in senior roles in the company or the majority of lower paid jobs being filled by women. Some of these factors are intentional, many are unintentional, and not all are within an employers’ immediate control.

Status of gender pay gap legislation in Ireland

The general scheme of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill (the “Bill”) was approved by cabinet in June 2018. The Bill has been placed on the Government’s priority list for publication this autumn. It is planned that the legislation will require publication of gender pay data in both public and private sector entities with over 250 employees. The threshold will gradually fall to just 50.

Employers will be required to publish differences in hourly pay, bonus pay, part-time pay and pay of men and women on temporary contracts. Publication of differences in pay by reference to job classifications may also be required. The precise methodology and reporting obligations are yet to be determined.

What will this legislation require employers to do?

The proposal legislation will not make it unlawful for employers to have a gender pay gap.  Clearly, this would be excessive as it is not something that employers can be expected to reduce or eliminate in the short term. However, by requiring employers to present those statistics, highlighting the extent of the issue in each case, it will force employers to take action to address the factors causing the pay gap in their own organisation.

Why does it matter?

Closing the gender pay gap is a key to promoting inclusivity and in attracting and retaining talent. It is also good for business. Recent research has confirmed that gender diversity at senior level has a significant impact on productivity growth and on returns to investors.

What should employers do now?

We know the legislation is coming and now is the time for employers to create their action plan. A proactive approach to gender pay gap reporting can be turned into an opportunity for Irish employers to promote their initiatives and to gain a competitive advantage in the labour market.

How can we help?

  • Legal Compliance and Risk Management: We can advise you on your gender reporting and equal pay obligations and the preparatory steps for compliance with reporting obligations. We will also keep you up to date on any developments in the area.
  • Equal Pay Audits: We work closely with leading data analytics and software specialists to provide you with the tools to analyse your organisation’s data and to prepare a gender pay audit. Our involvement in the conduct of equal pay audits can assist to preserve confidentiality and make the analysis of any gender inequalities legally privileged, where possible.
  • External and Internal Communications: We also work closely with PR specialists with extensive experience in the field of gender pay reporting to provide you with bespoke advice on the reputational opportunities and challenges of gender pay reporting, and to help you to develop your narratives and communications efforts.
  • Remedial Action: We can advise you in relation to diversity and inclusion initiatives, pay policies, and training materials. We can also assist you in the provision of training on matters of equality law and gender pay gap reporting compliance.
  • Market Trends: As advisors to a very large number of UK and US headquartered organisations operating globally that have already been through this process, we can give you the benefit of our insight into what employers are doing to tackle these issues.

Contact Employment Group Senior Associate Alice Duffy on +353 1 232 2416 or via email on alice.duffy@matheson.com, or your usual contact at Matheson.




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