Members of the Irish government have submitted legislation to the national parliament to amend the Employment Equality Act 1998 to provide greater transparency into the country’s gender wage gap.
Similar to current regulation in the UK, the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2019 will require employers with 250 employees or more to comply with the new regulations. Eventually, the law will apply to employers with 50 or more employees.
An article in the Irish Examiner on the proposed legislation put the Act’s requirements into perspective with this headline, “New law proposed to name and shame companies with poor record of equal pay.”
Here are some of the data points that employers must publish in order to comply with the proposed Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2019:
a. The differences in the mean and median hourly pay between men and women expressed as a percentage
b. Mean and median gap in bonus pay between men and women as a percentage
c. Mean and median gap in hourly pay of part-time male and female employees as a percentage
d. Percentage of men and of women who received bonuses and benefits as a percentage
In addition to this information, employers must also state the reasons for pay differences between men and women’s earnings, as well as the measures the employers will take to eliminate or reduce the differences.
The bill and its proposed provisions and requirements in their entirety, can be viewed here.
In commenting on the proposal, David Stanton, Ireland’s Minister of State, told the Irish Examiner: “I believe firms which can report a low or non-existent pay gap will be at an advantage in recruiting future employees and I hope mandatory reporting will incentivize employers to take measures to address the issue insofar as they can.”
Ireland’s move to amend their equal pay laws is consistent with other actions taken by countries such as Iceland, Canada, France, and the U.K., among others.
In the U.S., federal and state governments are moving slower, but in the same direction. Under court order, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is now requiring employers to submit pay data in their annual EEO-1 snapshots. The EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs regularly investigate and take legal action on issues of pay discrimination. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA). Many states and localities in the U.S. also are passing new equal pay legislation, such as salary history bans. Some employers, such as Intel, are taking significant steps to achieve global pay equity.
Organizations here in the U.S. should view steps in closing the gender wage gap in other countries as a sign of what’s to come. Getting prepared now and taking a proactive approach towards the issue of pay equity can only benefit your organization because the future will be here before you know it.