According to the Guardian’s Alexandra Topping “laws forcing employers to reveal the gender pay gap in their workforce, which come into force [in the UK] on Thursday, could do more to reduce the earnings gulf between men and women than four decades of equality legislation.”
Topping says that “the government hopes that by shining an unforgiving light on pay disparities, companies will be forced to take measures to eliminate gender pay gaps, which it argues could add £150 billion to annual GDP by 2025.”
IMPACT has called for similar laws to be introduced in Ireland. With Ireland’s national gender pay gap stubbornly stuck at 14%, IMPACT official Ger O’Brien said Ireland would benefit from similar transparency. “The disclosure of data like this is key to addressing the gender pay gap. What gets measured gets done, and publishing this kind of information would represent a real and concrete action on the part of employers, which would go a long way towards achieving the ultimate goal of equal pay for men and women,” she said.
The Programme for Government commits the Irish administration to “promote wage transparency by requiring companies with 50 or more employees to complete a wage survey.” But IMPACT says it must go further and require them to publish the data, rather than just collect it.
Last month, Labour leader Brendan Howlin asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny during leaders’ questions to support IMPACT’s call for new laws. IMPACT then welcomed the publication of a Labour Bill that aims to introduce gender pay gap reporting in Ireland. The union has called for cross-party support for the legislation.
IMPACT provoked a huge response, from across the political spectrum, to a social media campaign aimed at winning support for the legislation. The initiative focussed on the idea that women effectively work 71 minutes for free each working day when compared to their male counterparts. In other words, they are ‘clocked out by the pay gap’ at 15:50 each day.