EMPLOYER ACTION CODE: MONITOR
The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2019 would introduce Ireland’s first gender pay reporting and disclosure requirements. The implementation date and other details would be addressed by implementing regulations, but the government has indicated that the proposed requirements could apply to larger employers as early as 2020 or 2021, with subsequent rollout to smaller companies.
- Reporting would initially be required by companies with 250 or more employees. The mandate would be extended to firms with 150 or more employees no sooner than two years after the initial phase and firms with 50 or more employees three years after.
- Affected employers would need to disclose, on an aggregate percentage basis, median and average differences between hourly remuneration and annual bonus values for male and female employees, as well as the percentage of male and female employees receiving bonuses and benefits-in-kind.
- Companies would have to include commentary on the reasons for any identified gaps, and their past or planned actions to eliminate or narrow them.
- The bill also lists more detailed measurement breakdowns that may be required to be published by implementing regulations, such as differences in pay for male and female according to employment status (full-time, part-time and temporary staff), the distribution of male and female staff within the four quartiles of pay or by reference to job classifications.
- Reporting would not be required more frequently than annually, with specific frequency and timing to be determined by implementing regulations.
- The bill doesn’t specify the manner in which the results would be disclosed, but it is expected that the data would be published on a government website.
- The government would be given the power to appoint enforcement officers to ensure the accuracy of reported results with attendant powers to obtain court orders if necessary for compliance.
The bill is in the early stages of review by the Oireachtas and – if passed – is not expected to come into force before late 2019. In addition, implementing regulations to specify key items such as the phase-in schedule, calculation methodology, reporting format, frequency and timing requirements would still be required. That said, given the importance the government has placed on this issue, and the broader recent activity on this topic across Europe, it is expected that some manner of gender pay gap reporting will be enacted. The specific reporting elements described in the bill may require significant time and effort for employers to prepare and analyze. As such, employers may wish to allow themselves ample lead time to prepare and review the proposed information, as well as understand the drivers of any gender pay gaps and develop action plans to mitigate them.