A recent study of last year’s gender pay gap reports revealed that 87% of Irish employers pay men more than women. That’s a dismal statistic for 2023!
International Equal Pay Day represents efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value.
Plus, did you know? If your business has over 250 employees, you’re required by law to publish your gender pay gap figures.
According to the latest figures available, Ireland’s national gender pay gap is 9.9% meaning that women earn 91 cents for each €1 earned by a man on average. (3)
And it's not just Ireland that’s affected by unequal pay, across the globe the gender pay gap is estimated at around 20%. So, it’s clear there's still work to be done.
In Ireland, men and women are legally required to get equal pay for work that is considered "equal" in terms of similarity, equivalence, or value.
This means you can’t pay an employee less compared to another employee of the opposite sex who is doing work of equal value for you, or you could face an equal pay claim in the Workplace Relations Commission.
So, what can you do to make sure your business embraces equal pay and stays in line with equality laws?
Equal pay and the law
Equal pay law is covered under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 -2015 and the Equality and Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) statutory code of practice but it’s not just pay that the law applies to.
Under the law, you’re required to pay employees doing like work equal ‘remuneration’ which is defined widely and includes payments like allowances, bonuses, performance payments, and non-cash benefits such as cars and mobile phones.
So, how can you make sure you pay your staff equally and fairly?
To reduce your risk of unequal pay, it’s best practice to:
- Have an equal pay policy in place to protect your people and your business.
- Make sure your job descriptions are up-to-date and accurate.
- Check that your job titles are the same, no matter the sex of your employee.
- Provide better training for hiring staff to reduce pay discrimination from the start.
- Establish fair pay scales or pay grades for each of your roles based on the position, level of responsibility, and experience.
- Promote pay transparency to build trust and help close the gender pay gap.
And equal pay isn’t just important for legal reasons…
Paying staff equally in your business can improve your reputation, increase staff motivation and productivity, and form a key part of your social responsibility and culture— which are two very important priorities for job seekers which make your company more attractive.
Remember, ignoring important employee rights like equal pay has risks for your business…
If one of your employees feels they’re not getting equal pay, they may be able to take legal action against you.
They could make a claim to the WRC for equal pay or make a claim for sex discrimination, so it’s best to take action before you find yourself in the worst-case scenario.
Our 24/7 employment law advice line, BrightAdvice, is the ideal solution to give you peace of mind. You can get quick and reliable advice from our team of experts who are always ready to help you stay on the right side of the law.
Want to speak to one of our friendly advisors to find out how BrightAdvice can protect your business? Book a free demo today.
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Equal pay applies to all employees, workers, self-employed people who are hired to personally do the work, apprentices, and agency staff. This includes workers on a full-time, part-time, or temporary contract.
The Employment Equality Acts cover all employees, whether full-time, part-time, permanent or temporary, working under a contract of employment, or providing personal services in another person’s home. The equal pay for equal work legal provisions apply to all employers regardless of size.
When someone asks for equal pay, they have to claim for pay which is equal to that of someone else. This person is the comparator. Employees can make a claim for equal pay with one or several comparators and on different grounds. For example, the employee might compare earnings with one because they do similar work and another because their work is of equal value.