Gender Pay Gap Reporting Crosses the Irish Sea

The Irish parliament (the Oireachtas) recently passed a bill to bring gender pay gap reporting to Ireland. The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017, if signed into law as expected, would operate along broadly similar lines to the current UK legislation1 and undoubtedly Irish companies will be looking to learn from the experience of their UK peers. Several Ireland-headquartered companies will already have experience in gender pay gap reporting due to their operations in the UK.

There are two important differences, however, between the current UK legislation and what is proposed in Ireland. First, the Irish legislation currently applies only to employers with over 250 employees. In two years, the legislation's requirements would apply to employers with 150 or more employees; in three years, employers with 50 or more employees would need to comply. This is an interesting angle from a UK perspective, as Westminster considers similar amendments to UK's pay equity law.

Second, the Irish legislation requires more detail in the breakdown of the reported pay information. In addition to differences in hourly pay, employers must publish information regarding differences in bonus pay, part-time pay, benefits in kind and temporary workers. Further, the regulations may also require publication of differences in pay by reference to job classifications (although it is not clear when this requirement will begin).

Existing statistical data puts the current gender pay gap in Ireland at 14%, which is favourable compared to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. However, it shall remain to be seen how Irish companies fare in the coming months.

The proposed bill still needs to pass through the upper chamber of parliament (called the Dáil) where it will be debated and further amendments can be made. However, the government (i.e., ministers and prime minister) have already voted internally to approve the bill so it is unlikely that any major changes will be made. As the parliament is now back from summer recess it is likely this bill will become law in early 2019.

See Footnotes

1 See Tahl Tyson and Lavanga V. Wijekoon, New Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Disclosures Will Soon Take Effect for Large Employers in Great Britain, Littler Insight (Mar. 13, 2017).

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.