The Gender Pay Gap Bill 2017

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap Information) Bill 2017 has been drafted. The bill requires employers who employ 50 or more employees to publish information regarding employee pay. The information is being published to show whether or not there are differences in pay between female and male employees and if so, to show the scale of such differences.

These employers may be required to regularly report on their gender pay gap and provide specific information regarding pay for their staff, such as;

 “(a) The difference between the mean hourly rate of pay of male employees and that of female employees

 (b) The difference between the median hourly rate of pay of male employees and that of female employees

 (c) The difference between the mean bonus pay paid to male employees and that paid to female employees

 (d) The difference between the median bonus pay paid to male employees and that paid to female employees

 (e) The proportions of male and female employees who were paid bonus pay, and

 (f) The proportions of male and female employees in the lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper quartile pay bands.”

An employer who contravenes the provisions of the scheme may be guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a ‘Class A’ fine. A ‘Class A’ fine cannot exceed €5,000.

The Bill is modelled to a large extent on the equivalent gender pay gap information regulations in Great Britain. Since 6th April 2017, employers in Great Britain that employ more than 250 employees are legally required to publish the following information on their own website and a Government website annually;

  • Gender pay gap (mean and median averages)
  • Gender bonus gap (mean and median averages)
  • Proportion of men and women receiving bonuses
  • Proportion of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s pay structure

What this means for employers

If The Gender Pay Gap is enacted, it means a greater focus on transparency and equality in the workplace. If employers are legally obliged to publish information on gender pay gaps, and such information identifies significant differences in pay for male and female workers, we are likely to see an increase in gender discrimination claims.

A proactive approach

Employers should take a proactive approach by conducting an analysis on their payroll data. The review should establish how many employees are in part time and full times roles, to find out what the ratio of male to female employees are in senior positions and establish what the average rate of pay is in the company along with the questions from (a – f) listed above. Employers need to be ready to justify their decision in relation to remuneration. Unintentional gender bias may exist, and having a proactive approach and conducting a review will allow a company to establish this prior to being legally obliged to publish this information.

How to avoid gender bias

The implementation of salary scales into an organisation is a way to avoid exposure relating to pay claims, as they are objective and measurable. Salary scales are objectively justified and eliminate subjective rates of pay being offered. Each employee comes into the organisation at a certain point on the scale, depending on experience and qualifications.

Recently there has been a lot of negative publicity in the media regarding the gender pay gap. The most recent focus has been on the gap between female presenters pay in the BBC, as opposed to male colleagues. In order for companies to avoid such publicity, a proactive approach should be adopted.

There are many way employers can manage the gender pay gap. If you have any questions relating to this article please contact the advice line on 01 886 0350

Book a call with a consultant

Complete the form below and a consultant will call you as soon as possible.

Book a call with a consultant

Complete the form below and a consultant will call you as soon as possible.

Latest Resources

Probationary periods and employment contracts affected by new rules

As January is a quiet time for many business owners, it can be a good time to do some HR jobs that have been put […]

Handling employee resignation and notice periods in Ireland

Employee resigning with documents and belongings
How to handle employee resignation and notice periods in Ireland From time to time, an employee resigns to pursue a career outside of your organisation. […]

Employer’s guide to the Organisation of Working Time Act

Employer’s guide to the Organisation of Working Time Act The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. What does this legislation set out to do and […]

Nora Cashe

Peninsula

Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

Genos International Europe

Deiric McCann leads Genos International Europe – The EU division of a world-leading provider of emotional intelligence solutions. 

With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

Rhiannon Coyne

Graphite HRM

Rhiannon Coyne is a Senior HR Consultant at Graphite HRM and will be providing an overview of best practice on how to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace. 

With a number of recent updates to employment laws, Rhiannon will take a closer look at employment equality and how it is interlinked to Health & Safety and what employers can learn from recent case laws.

David Begg

Workplace Relations Commission

David Begg was appointed Chairperson of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in January 2021.

David is also a professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences. Mr Begg’s extensive history in the trade union movement included leading the ESB Officers Association and Irish Congress of Trade Unions, stepping away from the latter in 2001 to chair international aid agency Concern.

David Begg was also previously a director of the Central Bank of Ireland between 1995 and 2010.