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Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration and Fine Gael TD for Cork East, David Stanton and Minister of Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan have announced the publication of the General Scheme of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill. The announcement has been made following the approval of the Bill by Cabinet.

“This Government has a clear commitment to gender equality in the Programme for Government and our Second National Strategy for Women and Girls commits to wage transparency measures to tackle the gender pay gap. I am pleased to bring forward, these legislative proposals which will provide that employers with a certain number of employees (which will be set at 50 or more after an initial period of operation for bigger firms) must publish information on the gender pay gap in their firm”, said Minister Stanton.

“The gender pay gap has attracted increased attention in recent times both in Ireland and internationally. These pay transparency measures are part of a wider package of measures to promote gender equality. While Ireland compares relatively well with the rest of the EU as regards the size of the gender pay gap – 13.9% compared with an EU 28 figure of 16.7% in 2014 – we would like to see this move towards 0%.

Before formulating the proposals an extensive public consultation process was conducted. Many recommendations from this have been included in the General Scheme (available at http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR18000210) which will now be submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Justice Committee for pre-legislative scrutiny.

Some important elements of the Bill are:
• the Minister shall make regulations requiring publication of information on the gender pay gap in firms;
• the regulations will apply to employers with 250+ employees initially, then to those with 150+ and finally those with 50+;
• the regulations will apply to the public as well as the private sector subject to the employment thresholds;
• in addition to differences in hourly pay, information on differences in bonus pay, part-time pay and pay of men and women on temporary contracts will be among the data which must be published;
• the regulations may require publication of pay differences by reference to job classifications;
• enforcement mechanisms include a power for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to apply to the Circuit Court for an order requiring an employer to comply with the legislation or an employee may apply to the Workplace Relations Commission for an order requiring compliance

Minister Stanton concluded: “This is an important measure to help reduce the gender pay gap. By publishing information we hope to get a deeper insight into the causes of the gap and facilitate employers in addressing it. However, we also need to supplement this by measures to increase the number of women in decision-making and better-paid roles, improved childcare provision and dealing with gender stereotypes, all of which are being pursued in the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020.”