Firms are “still in the dark” on how to report the difference between male and female wages, even as the June deadline approaches.
Nearly a year after the new gender pay gap law was signed into law, a survey by human resources specialist CIPD Ireland found that 45 percent of employers are concerned about their ability to collect and analyze the necessary data.
The survey also found that 52 percent of firms – especially smaller firms where pay scales are more easily worked out – are concerned about privacy issues in reporting information.
Ireland’s Gender Pay Gap Information Act was signed into law last July and introduced International Women’s Day on March 8 this year.
The rules require Irish-listed companies with more than 250 employees to report on the difference between men’s and women’s average (and average) hourly wages and bonuses, and explain why any gaps exist.
The data is based on a “snapshot” date in June 2022, which is to be reported to the government by December.
The government promised to publish detailed rules on how to calculate pay for people on parental leave or flexible contracts, but has yet to do so.
CIPD Ireland director Mary Connaughton said it would be “very challenging” for companies to collect data without those detailed rules.
“We know it’s technically complicated, but they’ve been working on it for many years,” she said of the government’s plans.
“It takes time for companies to get the data together and get the formula right, and it would be very challenging to expect companies to be able to respond in such a short amount of time without those technical details.”
A spokesman for the Department of Child, Equality, Disability, Unity and Youth said it “expected” to publish the rules “very soon” but has not yet set a date for doing so.
Similar rules have been in place in the UK since 2017.
Some Irish firms – including EIR, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB – have started voluntary wage gap reporting but have not yet published figures on bonuses.
A post last year reported that it had closed its gender pay gap.
The state’s largest telecommunications provider EIR reported a 11.2 per cent gap between male and female average hourly wages in 2021 in favor of men, while Bank of Ireland’s wage gap stood at 23.8 pc last year, a slight improvement in 2020.
Ryanair’s 2020 UK pay gap report showed a 67.8 percent difference in average hourly wages in favor of men due to a shortage of female pilots and male cabin crew, the company said.
Ms Connaughton said the gender pay gap was also skewed in favor of men in the financial sector, especially when it comes to bonuses.
She also expressed fears that more remote and flexible working could “punish” women, “not in any deliberate way, but ‘out of sight, a bit out of mind’.”
Gender pay gap rules do not equate to equal pay for equal work, which is a legal right. Pay gap reporting is a broad measure that is applied to the average salary across firms, from the chief executive down.