The persistent gender pay gap means that women have to work the equivalent of 67 extra days each year to earn the same as their average male counterpart, according to Fórsa official Geraldine O’Brien. Ireland’s gender pay gap currently stands at 14%.
Speaking at a recent Oireachtas committee hearing, Geraldine also highlighted the paucity of women in top jobs. “If an equal number of men and women started work at the same time, only 24% of women will progress to senior management level,” she said.
Geraldine acknowledged the co-operation of government departments in bringing the issue to the fore, but said further steps were needed.
“Over the last 20 years, senior management across the civil and public service have been fully aware of the gender imbalances in their organisations. Many have taken a conscious decision to address the issue, but reporting on pay by grade will give a more accurate picture of the problem,” she said.
Geraldine was part of an ICTU delegation that last week gave evidence to the Joint Commission for Justice and Equality, which is discussing the general scheme of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill.
The bill would establish mandatory reporting by employers on the gender pay gap in their organisation. The measure would first be applied in firms with 250 or more employees, but that threshold would drop to 50-plus over time.
The legislation would also require reporting on differences in bonus pay, part-time pay and the pay of men and women on temporary contracts.
Fórsa has been at the forefront of the trade union campaign for legislation on gender pay gap reporting, which it says would encourage employers into tangible action to bridge the gap.
In June, the union criticised the Government for publishing its own Bill on the issue, rather than amending an existing opposition Bill that had already passed its second stage. The union said the move would delay the introduction of pay gap reporting.
Unions have welcomed proposed legislation on mandatory reporting of gender pay gaps in individual enterprises despite concerns that the 250 employee threshold is too high.
For more information on the gender pay gap bill click here.