Companies should reveal pay gap between male and female employees

Trade unions urge Government to introduce legislation to force organisations to do so

Delegates attending the ICTU Biannual Conference 2017 in Belfast heard compulsory reporting of organisations’ gender pay gaps would “shine a light on inequity”. Photograph:   Photoline

Delegates attending the ICTU Biannual Conference 2017 in Belfast heard compulsory reporting of organisations’ gender pay gaps would “shine a light on inequity”. Photograph: Photoline

 

Trade unions are to urge the Government to introduce legislation to force organisations with more than 50 staff to reveal data on the average pay gap between male and female employees.

The biennial conference of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) was told on Thursday that such a development would have a massive impact on female earnings.

The trade union Impact, which proposed the move, said it would help good employers to boost their brands and compete for the best talent in the labour market.

Speaking at the conference Impact lead organiser Linda Kelly said compulsory reporting of organisations’ gender pay gaps would “shine a light on inequity” and enable consumers to take account of the pay gap when deciding what to buy.

She said the gap between average pay for men and women was around 15per cent in the Republic of Ireland, and almost 10 per cent in the north.

“At the current rate of action, the United Nations reckons it will take 70 more years before women’s average pay matches men’s,” she said.

Legislation to introduce workplace gender pay gap reporting was adopted in the Seanad, with all-party support, in May.

Ms Kelly said the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017 was likely to face a sterner test when it returned to committee stage in the autumn.

She urged trade unions and civil society organisations to keep up the pressure to maintain all-party support for the reform.

“It will help decent employers to compete for the best talent in the labour market. Just for once, it could have them competing to pay people more. It will empower women to organise and bargain, armed with the facts and with public opinion on their side. And it will enable trade unionists, citizens and progressive organisations to take account of the gender pay gap when making decisions about how they spend their money.”

Ms Kelly said: “Passing the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill would be a strong signal that Ireland doesn’t just care about equal pay, but that we mean to do something decisive about it. Not in 70 years’ time, but now.”