Gender Pay Gap Information Act, 2021 (No. 10 of 2021)

Gender Pay Gap Information Act, 2021 (No. 10 of 2021)

Following the recent passing of the Gender Pay Gap Information Act, 2021 (No. 10 of 2021), mandatory gender pay gap (GPG) reporting is now required for all public and private sector organisations with 250 or more employees.

The Act amends the Employment Equality Act 1998 (No. 21 of 1998) and will require Regulations to be made that mandate certain employers to publish information relating to the remuneration of their employees by reference to their gender, for the purpose of showing whether there are differences in such remuneration with reference to gender. If such differences exist, the employer will be required to detail the magnitude of such differences and to publish a statement setting out the reasons for such differences and the measures (if any) taken, or proposed to be taken, to eliminate or reduce such differences.

Which employers will be affected?

Both public and private sector employers will be affected by the mandatory reporting obligations.

The reporting obligations will initially only affect employers with 250 or more employees. The Act further widens the scope to include employers with 150 or more employees on or after the second anniversary of the Regulations and those with 50 or more employees on or after the third anniversary of the Regulations.

There will be no requirement on employers with less than 50 employees to report on their gender pay gap.

What information needs to be reported?

The Act requires affected employers to report on the difference in male and female remuneration as follows:

  • Mean and median hourly remuneration for full-time and part-time employees
  • Mean and median bonus remuneration
  • Percentage of both male and female employees who have received a bonus or benefit in kind

The Act also indicates that additional regulations may be enacted to provide further clarity on:

  • The class of employer, employee and pay to which the regulations apply
  • How the remuneration of employees is to be calculated
  • The form, manner and frequency for which information is to be published

The information will not be required to be published more than once per year.

If a gender pay gap exists, employers will be required to publish the reasons for such differences in pay and bonus. They will also be obliged to publish details on the measures taken or proposed to be taken to eliminate or mitigate such differences.

A central website will be established to enable employers to upload their information.

How will the reporting obligations be enforced?

An employee who claims that their employer has failed to comply with the requirement to publish gender pay gap information may make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). If the WRC upholds the complaint, it may grant an order compelling the employer to comply with its gender pay gap reporting obligations. There is no provision for the payment of compensation to the employee or for a fine to be imposed on the employer.

If the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has reasonable grounds for believing that an employer has failed to comply with the requirement to publish gender pay gap information, as provided for in the regulations, it may apply to the Circuit or High Court for an order requiring the employer to comply. Consequently, an employer who fails to comply with a Circuit Court or High Court order may be held in contempt of that Court.

While the Act (once enacted) paves the way for gender pay gap reporting in Ireland, many of the finer details of the reporting obligations have yet to be specified in the regulations.  The Minister has confirmed that it is his intention that the regulations, giving effect to the proposals contained in the Act, will be published and in force by the end of this year, and therefore, it is likely that the reporting process for affected employers will begin in 2022.

In preparation for this, employers should establish whether gender pay gaps exist in their organisations and identify the steps that they might take to reduce or eliminate such gaps before mandatory pay gap reporting commences.