The findings of a recent HRLocker survey suggest that the enforcement of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill in Ireland can’t come quick enough.
The most recent Eurostat figures show that Ireland’s gender pay gap was 14.4pc in 2017, which is slightly lower than the EU average. But according to a recent HRLocker survey, one in four organisations have received a gender-based equal pay complaint from a staff member.
The HR technology company surveyed 260 HR leaders in Ireland earlier this year. It also found that 12pc of respondents don’t believe men and women should always be equally paid for comparable work.
Their reasons were that pay should be based on skill rather than gender (46pc), that men tend to be more qualified for skilled roles (18pc), and that women don’t tend to work in their particular industry (7pc). Furthermore, 8pc of respondents said they had knowingly underpaid someone on the basis of gender, and women were more likely to do so than men.
Gender pay gap legislation
The survey comes as the Government takes another step forward in terms of gender pay gap legislation in Ireland.
At the end of March, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman, TD, received Cabinet approval to amend the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill.
This bill outlines a requirement for employers to report on the differences in pay between men and women, including bonuses. It will initially apply to companies with 250 or more employees, but will be extended to smaller businesses over time.
The bill was originally published in April 2019 but lapsed with the dissolution of the Dáil the following January. Now that it has been restored, a strengthened version will be presented to the Dáil.
“We need to gain an accurate understanding of the gender pay gap to help address the root causes of the gender pay disparity between men and women,” O’Gorman said, commenting on the recent Cabinet approval. “This bill, once implemented, will bring us another step forward in achieving a more equal society for everyone.”
According to HRLocker’s survey, 27pc of respondents said their organisation is already voluntarily reporting on their gender pay gap and 60pc have a formal pay scale for employees.
“The Gender Pay Gap Bill, when enforced, will signify a massive step in ending discrimination,” HRLocker CEO Adam Coleman said.
“Similar legislation introduced in the UK in 2017 is already yielding positive results. Creating positive employee experiences is critical to business success and that starts with being fair and transparent.”