You are currently viewing Employment in Ireland: gender pay gap reporting requirements confirmed

Employment in Ireland: gender pay gap reporting requirements confirmed

Regulations giving effect to the Gender Pay Gap (Information) Act 2021 (“Law“) will be released in the coming weeks.

Although adopted in July 2021, the obligations provided for in the Law have not yet entered into force. Regulations are needed before its reporting obligations apply to employers based in Ireland. Our previous opinion on the main provisions of the Act is available here.

In the meantime, employers can prepare to comply with the law, as we now know what information needs to be published and when the Gender Pay Gap Reports will apply to Irish employers.

Information required

Employers will be required to publish information on pay differences between women and men, including:

  • the difference between the average and median hourly earnings of male and female employees;
  • the difference between the average compensation and the median bonus compensation of male and female employees;
  • the difference between the average and median hourly wages of male and female part-time employees;
  • the number of male and female employees who received bonuses and benefits in kind; and
  • the number of male and female employees who are in each of the four salary bands.

Employers will also be required to publish a statement setting out, in the employer’s opinion, the reasons for the gender pay gap in their organization and the measures taken or proposed by the employer to eliminate or reduce this gap. of remuneration.

A gender pay gap is different from an employer’s obligation to pay equal pay for similar work. Employers are already required to pay equal pay under the Employment Equality Acts, from 1998 to 2021. Many employers may have a gender pay gap for a variety of non-discriminatory reasons. Nevertheless, certain measures can be taken by employers to reduce the gap.

Schedule of reporting obligations

Employers who employ at least 250 employees will be required to report information on the gender pay gap in December 2022. These employers must choose a snapshot date in June 2022 to form the basis of their reporting. Information on the gender pay gap is due to be released on the same date in December.

Two years after the date of entry into force of the law in 2024, these obligations will be extended to employers with 150 or more employees. Three years after the effective date in 2025, these obligations will extend to employers with 50 or more employees.

Employers should therefore focus on two key dates when falling within the scope of these reporting obligations. The six-month gap between the chosen “snapshot” date and the gender pay gap publication deadline should be used to identify the reasons for any gender pay gap that may exist and to identify and implement measures within the organization to close the gap.

Measures to reduce the gap

In anticipation of a wider network of employers required to publish this information and the corresponding effect on recruitment and retention, it may be prudent for employers to conduct test reviews with the benefit of legal professional secrecy. and prepare draft gender pay information reports to identify and assess any gender pay gap issues that may exist.

In a report published in 2017, the CIPD identified a range of issues that can lead to a gender pay gap, including unpaid care responsibilities falling primarily on women, part-time work, occupational segregation and undervaluation. of women’s work.

Improving family-friendly leave and flexible labor supply are two measures that could reduce the gender pay gap. We recently shared a notice on family leave updates which can be viewed here. Improved family leave promotes a more equitable sharing of family responsibilities between male and female employees.

The right to apply for the Remote Work Bill 2021 (“Invoice“) as well as the European directive on work-life balance for parents and carers (“directive“) are due to be implemented later this year. Both pieces of legislation are likely to help employers close their gender pay gap by mitigating the disproportionate effect of caring and family responsibilities on women’s ability to work full time, stay employed and advance their careers.

The current bill provides a right to request remote work, not a right to remote work. However, it is proposed that employers will be required to consider an employee’s request, respond to the request within twelve weeks and provide good reasons why the request cannot be facilitated for work reasons. It is also proposed that employers be required to put in place a remote working policy.

The directive must be implemented by August 2022 at the latest. The directive provides the right to request flexible working arrangements for carers and parents of children up to eight years old. Flexible work arrangements are much broader than remote work.

Also on the horizon is the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on improving the gender balance among directors of listed companies and related measures. This proposed legislation aims to improve the gender balance among non-executive directors of listed companies. A general approach to this proposed directive was agreed on March 14, 2022. If adopted, it would set a quantitative target for the proportion of women on such boards. Companies should take steps to achieve, by 2027, the minimum target of having 40% of non-executive director positions held by women, or 33% if all board members are included. Companies that do not achieve these goals should apply clear, unambiguous and neutrally worded criteria when nominating or electing directors. The next step concerns negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament with a view to agreeing a common position, so it may take some time before this proposal is implemented.

Consequences of breaking the law – Lack of teeth

Under the Act, employees can submit a complaint to the Workplace Relations Board (“Commission des relations en milieu du travail”).CMR“) alleging that their employer failed to meet its obligations under the Act.

The WRC will investigate the complaint and if found to have merit, the WRC may order the employer to take a specific course of action.

However, employees who file complaints under the law are not entitled to compensation and there are no provisions for the imposition of monetary fines on employers.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“YOURREC“) will also have the power to apply to the Circuit Court or the High Court for an order requiring an employer to comply with its obligations under the law. The IHREC must first have reasonable grounds to believe that an employer fails to meet its obligations under the Act before it can take that action.

In some cases, the reputational implications of disclosing a significant gender pay gap may outweigh the risk of non-compliance. For other employers, not disclosing their gender pay gap could have a direct impact on recruitment and retention in today’s market. So the sooner employers know the extent of their gender pay gap, the better!

Leave a Reply