You work 71 minutes of your day for free: here's how that's changing 4 years ago

You work 71 minutes of your day for free: here's how that's changing

Today, members of the Seanad discussed the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap Information) Bill 2017.

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The bill will demand companies with more than 50 employees share regular reports on their internal gender pay gaps.

The move would not only make companies accountable for what they pay staff, but it would also arm female employees with crucial information.

“If you’re a woman on her way into a salary negotiation, knowing your employer’s gender pay gap is a really valuable piece of information. It gives you a sense of where on the ladder you’re likely to be,” says communications executive at IMPACT Trade Union, Lughan Deane.

IMPACT have been busy this week contacting senators asking them to support the bill. Deciding to break the issue down into visual aids, the group sent letters with 14 percent of the page missing to represented the pay gap that currently exists in Ireland.

“Today you will debate the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017,” read the letter.

“This is a realistic measure. It’s both of benefit to workers and pragmatically achievable for employers. It isn’t a direct intervention into the mechanism of someone’s company, it’s a ‘nudge’ – a stimulus or a prompt – for companies to engage in self-reflection. It shouldn’t be punitive – more than anything this is about celebrating good practise.”

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As it stands, women in this country work the last 71 minutes of their working day for free, according to the pay gap. And over the course of 12 months, we work one of those months for free.

Labour’s Seanad Group Leader and Party Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Development, Ivana Bacik, will today be introducing the bill in the Seanad despite equal pay legislation being introduced decades ago.

“We passed equal pay legislation over forty years ago, in 1974; yet this inequality continues,” Senator Bacik told Her.

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“The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill places responsibility for ensuring greater pay transparency with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.


“This bill seeks to tackle the 'gender pay gap' by requiring large employers to publish information on pay rates in their organisation. In 2013, the EU Commission published a major study on the gender pay gap, noting that in Ireland, women currently earn around 13.9 per cent less than men,” Senator Bacik continued.

“We need to take an initiative like this in order to bring about change more quickly. We understand that the government will support the bill at second stage, and we will be urging them to speed through its passage into law.”

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Speaking in the Seanad earlier, Senator Aodhán O’Ríordáin said:

“When we talk about gender inequality, there can be a little bit of disinterest and the belief that all is well but that is certainly not the case. We had a conference on the issue recently, and still there was men scratching their heads wondering what the big deal was. And it is a big deal.

“Gender inequality is a real issue in every workplace and every facet of Irish society – and it needs to be acknowledged.”

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Discussions in the Seanad highlighted that the bill is supported by Senators from all parties with most praising Senator Bacik for her proposal.