Symbolically, on international women’s day, a Special Cabinet Meeting was held which focused on the promotion of gender equality across a number of areas. At the Cabinet meeting, Minister of Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D. announced that Cabinet has agreed the text of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, indicating that the draft Bill will be published soon. Minister Flanagan noted that “Greater transparency in this area will help us to identify the factors that contribute to the gender pay gap and will incentivise employers to take measures to reduce that gap.”
The General Scheme of the Bill requires employers to report and publish gender pay data on a phased basis (initially 250+ employees, reducing to 150+ and finally to those with 50+). The reporting requirement will apply to full-time and part-time employees as well as employees on temporary contracts. Affected employers will also be required to publish details of the number of male and female employees (i) who were paid bonus pay; (ii) who received benefits in kind; and (iii) who are in the lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper range pay bands.
It is not clear yet whether the draft Bill incorporates any of the recommendations made by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality in its Report on Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the General Scheme of the Bill published last month. For example, the Committee recommends that the Bill allow for the possibility of reporting by reference to job classification as well as quartile reporting, but that the Minister may choose to prioritise one form of reporting over the other in the initial period.
Also discussed at the Cabinet meeting were the steps being taken to address gender imbalance in Board positions on State and Corporate Boards. While the average gender balance across all State Boards stands above the target of 40% female representation, the percentage of individual State Boards meeting that target is less than half.
For more information, please see our previous publication on the Gender Pay Gap Reporting - Getting it Right.
How can we help?
Our Employment, Pensions and Incentives Group would be happy to address any questions employers may have on the implications of the proposed legislation, including advising employers on how to prepare for mandatory gender pay gap reporting. Your usual contact in McCann FitzGerald would be happy to provide for further information.