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World of HR: How Ireland is trying to close the gender pay gap

Employers in the country are required to publish data on gender pay disparities.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

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For many women, making as much as their male peers may feel about as likely as finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. At the current rate of change, it would take more than 130 years to close the gender pay gap, but some countries are legislating pay transparency to help get one step closer.

Where in the world? In 2021, the Irish government passed the Gender Pay Gap Information Act, requiring employers with more than 250 employees to release gender pay disparity reports. Beginning in 2022, organizations were asked to pull “snapshot” data in June in order to report their findings in December, according to the Irish government.

The guidelines state that the reports must be shared on employers’ websites, and include data on part-time workers, employee bonuses, and the percentage of male and female employees who received bonuses. Companies must also explain their performance and propose measures to correct any differences.

Employers seem to be taking the legislation seriously, as gender pay equity is becoming a key priority among Irish businesses, the Irish Examiner reported. And while the country’s average pay differential is 14%, it varies by company and industry. For example, PwC has a gender pay gap of less than 1%, while the pay gap at rail company Iarnród Éireann is 6.3% in favor of women, according to the Examiner.

However, some employers have gaps in their reporting. “Information around rates for part-time workers and bonus payments is lacking in some places, as are overall employee numbers, and we would encourage employers to address this in order to give as clear a picture as possible of conditions for its workers,” Mary Connaughton, director of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Ireland, told the Irish Times.

Satellite view. The gender pay gap is still a global problem, according to the UN.

The US does not have federal legislation requiring employers to publicly share pay disparity information, and on average, women workers make 84 cents for every dollar made by men, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Some states, including New York City, California, and Colorado, now require some level of pay transparency, but some experts say more legislation is needed.

“Over the last few decades, there’s been mounting evidence that pay transparency can be a key tool in closing gender and racial pay gaps, making this an increasingly appealing option for legislators,” Pavlina Draganova, global network leave at UK workplace platform Organise, told the BBC.—KP

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.