Legislation compelling employers to reveal details their gender pay gaps may not be passed by the current Oireachtas now that the Government has insisted on publishing its own Bill, rather than amending an opposition Bill that has already passed its second stage, according to Fórsa. The union today (Tuesday) said the administration’s approach would at best delay the introduction of pay gap reporting “and could risk killing the initiative.”
The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017 was accepted by the Government when it passed its second stage last October. If enacted, it would require medium and large companies to publish details of the difference in the average pay of their male and female staff.
But the Government now intends to introduce an alternative bill, reportedly because it has reservations about the role of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in administering pay gap reporting.
Responding to the development, Fórsa’s Head of Communications Bernard Harbor said reservations about the logistics of reporting, storing and presenting data could easily be addressed through amendments to the Labour bill, which is already well advanced.
The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017 was accepted by the Government when it passed its second stage last October.
“Today’s move by Minister Flanagan introduces needless delay which means the legislation may not become law before a general election. If that happens, we’ll be back to square one for a third time, despite the fact that there is broad consensus on this issue across political parties, employers bodies, workers’ representatives and civil society organisations.
The Government can address any reservations it may have by amending the existing bill. Plans to go back to square one seem at best a delaying tactic and, at worst risks killing this initiative,” he said.
Harbor said employers’ bodies have been convinced that gender pay gap reporting is not a punitive measure. “Rather, it’s a small but crucial step towards real action on Ireland’s stubborn pay gap. We’ve had the debate. We’ve pretty-much built a political consensus. Now it’s time for action, rather than dithering over the details that can be addressed through amendments,” he said