Gender Pay Gap Reporting legislation
Cabinet approval brings legislation one step closer
The Irish Government has consistently stated that it is committed to tackling the gender pay gap in Ireland. The cabinet has recently approved the General Scheme of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill. It still has a a few stages to go through, so let’s look at what is proposed.
What are the main points?
There is currently in Ireland no compulsory reporting on Gender Pay Gap and bonus pay gaps. This bill seeks to introduce mandatory reporting. It will affect employers with over 250 employees at first. The plan is to reduce that number to 150 employees and eventually all employers with 50 or more employees.
What must be reported?
The Minister for Justice and Equality will introduce regulations which will deal with the following:
(I) The classes of employer and employee affected by the regulations
(ii) How to calculate the correct number of employees
(iii) How to work out the pay of employees
(iv) How often and in what format the information is to be reported
The question of differences
The information to be published will include the differences between:
(i) the mean hourly pay of male and female employees;
(ii) the median hourly pay of male and female employees;
(iii) the mean bonus pay of male and female employees;
(iv) the median bonus pay of male and female employees;
(v) the mean pay of part-time male and female employees;
(vi) the median pay of part-time male and female employees;
(vii) the mean pay of male and female employees on temporary contracts;
(viii) the median pay of male and female employees on temporary contracts.
Affected employers will also be required to publish details of the number of male and female employees (i) who were paid bonus pay; (ii) who received benefits in kind; and (iii) who are in the lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper range pay bands. It is also possible that regulations will require the publication of information by reference to job classifications.
What about enforcement?
The Bill envisages enforcement powers specific to Gender Pay Gap information with dedicated officers appointed by the Minister to investigate and prepare a report. These officers will have the usual powers of entry and request records and other documents which they reasonably believe contain relevant information , for inspection/ copying.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission may apply to the Circuit Court where they reasonably believe that an employer is not complying with the reporting obligations. The Circuit Court can grant an order compelling the employer to comply.
Employees will be able to refer a complaint to the WRC where they believe that their employer is in breach of the reporting obligation under the proposed Bill, soon to become an Act.
An appeal to the Labour Court will be possible forom the decision of the WRC.
Watch this space
Employers who fit the 250 employee category should start taking practical measures to prepare for the eventual introduction of this proposed legislation. We will keep you updated on legislative progress.
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