New gender pay gap rules need greater clarity, says PwC

How to account for maternity pay, sick pay and bonuses among problem areas, according to firm

Professional services firm PwC has called for greater clarity on new rules that oblige larger companies to report and publicly explain their gender pay gap.

The firm is predicting the new rules, details of which were recently published by the Government, will be a “challenge” for employers to implement this year. “Many expect that the first reporting results will not necessarily be positive for a large number of companies,” said Doone O’Doherty, a partner at PwC.

The new reporting rules apply to companies with more than 250 employees. They have been given six months from a “snapshot” day in June to calculate and report their gender pay gap, which is a measure of the difference between the average pay of men and women in the organisation.

The rules on what must be reported are “more extensive” in Ireland than the UK, according to PwC, as the rules here mean companies must include information on part-time workers and those on temporary contracts, the percentage of employees receiving benefits-in-kind, the causes of any pay gap and the actions being taken to address it.

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The firm says, however, that greater clarity is needed in the new Irish rules around how to account for maternity pay and sick pay, as well as the treatment of bonuses.

PwC Ireland says its overall gender pay gap has fallen to just 1 per cent this year from 5.7 per cent in 2018. The firm said its “bonus gap” is 6.7 per cent in favour of male employees, while there remains a 13 per cent gender pay gap among the firm’s partners. PwC Ireland says it has a 50-50 ratio between men and women among its directors and associates, and a 58 per cent majority of women in its team of senior managers. Two-thirds of its partners are men.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column