Ireland has ‘stubbornly high gender pay gap’, says Ictu

Disparity reporting legislation could help bridge the gap, according to union

Ireland has a “stubbornly high gender pay gap”, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) has said.

Kevin Callinan, president of the Ictu, said Ireland’s gender pay gap stood at 11.3 per cent, according to the latest Eurostat data, as a new guide for trade unions on gender pay gap reporting was published in Dublin on Monday.

Under new legislation which came into force earlier this year, organisations with more than 250 employees are required to report their gender pay gap for 2022 in December, with the data based on a “snapshot” date of their choosing in June.

The legislation will be extended to organisations with 150 or more employees in 2024, and those with 50 or more employees in 2025.


Mr Callinan said the Ictu believed that gender pay gap reporting legislation was potentially a “mechanism to encourage employers into tangible action to bridge the gap. It is also an opportunity for unions to negotiate actions to address pay inequality and we will be seeking engagement with employers when the first set of audit reports are published in December, in order to agree a set of measures to be taken by the employer to eliminate or reduce any gaps identified.”

‘Unequal pay’

Dr Jane Pillinger, consultant and author of the guide, said gender pay reporting was an important milestone in “the fight against unfair and unequal pay, particularly for women workers in low paid and undervalued jobs. Trade unions have a vital role to play in finding solutions with employers and bringing unequal pay and its root causes into collective bargaining. The guidance is aimed at building union strategies and actions on gender pay gap reporting and the wider structural causes of unequal pay.”

Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman said the introduction of gender pay gap reporting in Ireland was a “major step forward in terms of addressing gender inequality in the workplace. If a company doesn’t adhere to its obligations under the legislation, IREC, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has the power to bring those companies to court. That’s quite a sizable and important provision to make sure that there is adherence to this new law.”

Mr O’Gorman said it was hoped gender pay gap reporting would go “a long way towards improving our understanding of the pay gap and incentivising employers to use whatever means they can to reduce that gap. With 65 per of all employees in the State estimated to fall within the scope of the act, the publication of gender pay gap information will provide a range of data about firms and sectors and how they contribute to the gender pay gap in the economy as a whole.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times