Ireland is now a step closer to mandatory gender pay gap reporting. The Irish government published the much anticipated Gender Pay Gap Information Bill earlier this month.

As we reported previously, mandatory gender pay gap reporting is spreading across Europe, with Ireland’s legislation already several years behind its English speaking neighbor’s (the UK law went into effect in 2017) and several others, and not expected to come into effect until late 2019 at the earliest.

  • The rules are expected to first apply to companies with over 250 employees, then those with over 150 employees within 2 years and those with over 50 employees within 3 years.

Unlike in the UK, in addition to naming and shaming companies that do not comply, in Ireland, designated enforcement officers are expected to be appointed to investigate or audit gender pay gap calculations for accuracy. In conjunction with such investigation powers, the officers will have the power to enter company premises and require production of relevant information. There will also be a mechanism for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to seek a court order for compliance and importantly, the current text of the Bill provides employees with the ability to bring a claim for non compliance before the Workplace Relations Commission, which may in turn order compliance. Currently, monetary sanctions or compensation are not anticipated.

Other highlights include:

  • The Bill is in the Irish government’s list of “priority legislation”, however, even after it is passed the reporting mandate will not come into effect until the Minister for Justice and Equality issues the relevant regulations.
  • Unlike the UK rules, the Irish rules are expected to include reporting in respect of temporary employees and certain additional metrics.
  • The format for publishing is likely to be similar to the UK’s, with companies required to publish on their own website and on a government website (the UK website allows visitors to compare employers’ gaps against each other using a comparison tool).
  • It is expected that the rules will require companies to publish a statement explaining their gap and detailing an action plan or measures to help narrow it going forward.