IMPACT has written to employer group Ibec ahead of an upcoming stakeholder consultation process on the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017.
The Bill, which will require employers with more than 50 employees to report data on the size of their internal gender pay gaps, was published in February following a call by IMPACT. It was passed last month – with almost unanimous support - through second stage by the Seanad.
During the Seanad debate, Fine Gael’s Minister David Stanton and Senator Catherine Noone both spoke in favour of the principle underpinning the Bill, but insisted that a consultation process involving trade unions and employers was required.
Given that IMPACT is both a trade union and, for the purposes of this Bill, an employer, it will have a valuable contribution to make to that process.
Ibec had previously stated its opposition to the concept of gender pay gap reporting. In its submission on the recently published National Strategy for Women and Girls, Ibec stated that “The proposed transparency measure of published wage surveys is not a useful mechanism for tackling gender pay gaps”.
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IMPACT wrote to the group to point out that gender pay gap reporting presents business with several real opportunities.
In its letter, IMPACT argued that the measure “would open up a new front on which employers could compete to attract and retain the best female talent.”
And that “publicly available gender pay gap information would also allow firms to make informed choices about who to engage as suppliers or contractors from a gender equality perspective.”
IMPACT said the proposed laws represented “a simple catalyst: a market-oriented ‘nudge’ that leverages the force of inter-firm competition to drive down the pay gap. A trigger – a prompt – rather than a direct intervention.”
The letter also pointed out that multiple employers’ groups in the UK (CBI, EEF and TechUK) have explicitly and publicly recognised the measure’s potential value.
The correspondence concludes by expressing a hope that “Ibec might reconsider its opposition to the principle underpinning the Bill” ahead of the consultation.