Taoiseach urged to plug gender pay gap

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An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was asked in the Dáil yesterday (Tuesday) to support IMPACT’s call for new laws to require employers to reveal the gender pay gap in their organisations. Labour leader Brendan Howlin raised the issue during leaders’ questions after the union wrote to Tánaiste and equality minister Frances Fitzgerald seeking the legal change following a similar development in the UK.

The latest Women In Work Index, published by PWC yesterday, identified a 14.8% gender pay gap in Ireland. The gulf is 6.5% wider than in 2012 and, at the current rate of progress, it will be 2032 before it is closed, according to the report.

IMPACT official Geraldine O’Brien wrote to the Tánaiste on the matter earlier this week. She acknowledged the Programme for Government commitment to “take measures to reduce the gender pay gap,” including by requiring companies with more than 50 staff to undertake wage surveys. But she said this was “not sufficiently ambitious” given the scale of the challenge.

IMPACT says that requiring employers to reveal their record would increase the incentive to address the gender pay gap.

Geraldine said the union was calling on the Government to take decisive action on this important issue. “Specifically, we are calling for the introduction of regulations similar to those recently introduced in the UK. These regulations would require employers of a certain size to publish, rather than simply collect, data on the mean and median gaps in pay between their male and female employees,” she said.

Read the UK regulations here.