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ACTION NEEDED TO TACKLE THE GENDER PAY GAP

12 April 2017

Statement by Jan O'Sullivan TD
Children and Youth Affairs, Housing, Planning and Local Government

Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan has said that Ireland is still not doing enough to tackle gender inequality in the workplace.

It comes as employers in the UK have this month begun publishing figures on the salaries of their male and female workers for the first time, in a bid to reduce the gender pay gap in that country.

Deputy O'Sullivan said:

“Despite making strides in this area, women in Ireland still earn around 13.9 per cent less than men per hour than men, or put another way, are working for free for around one month every year. The Government, despite pledging to ‘empower women’ in its Programme for Partnership Government, has so far failed to take action in this regard.

“Equality has always been a core value of the Labour Party, and last month we published legislation that aims to drive efforts towards closing the gender gap here. Our Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, which we are hoping to introduce into the Dáil next month, would require companies with at least 50 employees to regularly report on the earnings of their male and female employees. We’ve already seen this work in countries like Belgium, which has a pay gap of just under 7 per cent, and as we are seeing, the UK Government is following suit. It’s now time for Ireland to play its part.

“Labour recognises that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are steps that can be taken to pave the way for full gender equality in the workplace. Our Closing the Gap paper on gender equality makes a number of proposals to this end including on the issues of pay, supporting women into work, and tackling the glass-ceiling effect," concluded Deputy O'Sullivan.

The Labour Party’s Closing the Gap paper will be discussed at the party’s National Conference in Wexford on Saturday April 22nd.