Gender pay gap reporting in Ireland: the current state of play
21 April 2022
The long-awaited regulations setting out the detail for Irish employers’ gender pay gap reporting obligations are expected imminently. In this article we cover what we know and what we don’t yet know about the reporting obligations, how employers can prepare for gender pay gap reporting and compare UK and Irish legislation on gender pay gap reporting.
The Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 (the Act) introduced the legislative basis for gender pay gap reporting in Ireland and regulations under the Act, setting out the detail of the reporting obligations (the Regulations), are expected imminently. The Regulations will require organisations with over 250 employees to report on their gender pay gap in 2022. As we covered here, these employers need to choose a ‘snapshot’ date of their employees in June 2022 and then report on the gender pay gap for those employees on the same date in December 2022.
The Regulations are expected to provide further clarity for employers on what will be required. The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth will also publish guidance for employers on how gender pay gap calculations should be performed (and possibly presented).
What we know about gender pay gap reporting
We know that:
- employers will be required to report on the gender differences in respect of the:
- mean and median hourly pay for full time and part-time employees;
- mean and median bonus pay;
- percentage of employees who have received a bonus or a benefit in kind; and
- proportions of men and women within each of the four quartile pay bands;
- as mentioned above, employers will choose a ‘snapshot’ date of their employees in June 2022 and will compile a report on the gender pay gap comprising the above information for those employees to be published by the same date in December 2022;
- employers will be required to prepare a statement setting out the employer’s opinion on the causes of any gender pay gap and what measures are proposed or being taken (if any) to reduce or eliminate any gender pay gap;
- the reporting obligation will initially only apply to organisations with 250 or more employees, before reducing to 150 or more employees after two years, and 50 or more employee after three years; and
- the Regulations will be enforced by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission who will be able to bring a claim in the High Court or Circuit Court to require employers’ compliance. Employees will also be able to make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) which can then force an employer’s compliance.
What we don’t know about gender pay gap reporting
We don’t know:
- whether employers may be required to report on the mean and median pay gaps for employees on temporary contracts;
- how to calculate the pay and bonus gaps; and
- whether a statutory director or equivalent will have to confirm the accuracy of the statistics (as in the UK).
The Regulations should provide more detail for employers on how to prepare this information, including the definitions of:
- “benefit in kind”;
- “temporary contract”; and
- “part time”.
Preparing for gender pay gap reporting
- Employers should consider when they will be likely to have to report. Are they likely to be over 250 employees in June 2022?
- Employers can also start considering who the key stakeholders in the business are likely to be to prepare the report. These may include:
- payroll - to provide the pay data;
- HR - to collect the people data;
- more senior level HR/ER - to understand the initiatives that can be created, or which may already exist to reduce any gaps; and
- PR/comms - to assist with writing the report;
- Employers should:
1. compile a list of all of the pay elements processed by payroll (including benefits in kind – although they are not monetary payments, they usually appear on payroll for tax reasons). They should ensure that they understand what they are all for and how they are used so that it will be easier to identify which are within the scope of the Regulations once they are published;
2. make sure their HR data is up to date, and that they have gender data for everyone, and if not send a reminder to those that have not provided it asking them to do so; and
3. start looking at the initiatives that they are taking to increase gender diversity – employers should compile a list and try to identify what results these initiatives might have achieved. There is research showing the initiatives that are supported by evidence and those that are not, so they should consider whether they might start doing more of those that work and less of those that don’t.
- The best way to identify causes of gaps is to gather additional data on job title/department/grade and drill down, calculating a variety of other statistics. This can help to build a picture of the biggest contributors to gaps and identify the target areas for change. Employers should look to see what possible categories of data are available for doing more granular analysis.
A comparison of UK & Irish legislation on gender pay gap reporting
The following table sets out the differences between the UK and Irish legislation:
||England and Wales, Scotland (not Northern Ireland)||Ireland (not Northern Ireland)|
|Size of employers covered
||250+ employees||250+ employees initially (2022), before reducing to 150+ employees after two years following the implementation of the Regulations (2024) and 50+ employees after three years following the implementation of the Regulations (2025)
|How is the number of employees calculated?||Must be "employed" on 5 April||To be determined by the Regulations. Likely that employees must be “employed” on a “snapshot date” in June 2022 chosen by the employer
|What period of time must be looked at?||
Pay gaps/quartiles – period for which the employee receives basic pay, and which includes the “snapshot date” of 5 April
Bonus gaps/bonus proportions – 12 months ending on 5 April
|Employers will choose a “snapshot date” of their employees in June 2022. We are awaiting the publication of the Regulations for further details in relation to the specific time periods to be looked at
|What is the deadline for reporting?||
Usually no later than 4 April in the following year (i.e. 364 days after the snapshot date)
Deadline for reporting 5 April 2020 statistics was 4 October 2021 (it was amended due to Covid)
Deadline for reporting 5 April 2021 statistics was 4 April 2022
|The same date as the June “snapshot date” in December 2022. We are awaiting further details in the Regulations. Employers shall not be required to report more frequently than once in each year
|What has to be reported?||
Mean hourly pay gap
|Median hourly pay gap||Yes
|Mean hourly pay gap for part-time workers||No||Yes
|Median hourly pay gap for part-time workers||No||Yes
|Mean hourly pay gap for temporary workers||No||Yes
|Median hourly pay gap for temporary workers
|Mean bonus gap||Yes
|Median bonus gap
|Proportion of men and women who received a bonus||Yes
|Proportion of men and women who received a benefit in kind
|Pay information by reference to job classification||No||Potentially. depending upon content of the Regulations|
|The report||Does the report have to explain the causes of any gaps?
|Does the report have to state what the employer is doing to reduce any gaps?
|Does the report have to be published?
||Yes||Yes - the frequency, form and manner is to be determined by the Regulations|
Includes basic pay, allowances, piecework, pay for leave, shift premium pay
Does not include overtime, redundancy/severance payments, payment in lieu of leave, benefits in kind
|To be determined by the Regulations
|Bonuses||Broad definition. Includes anything in the form of money, vouchers, securities, options in securities or interests in securities that relates to profit sharing, productivity, performance, incentive or commission
||To be determined by the Regulations
|Employee||Employees, workers and self-employed contractors
||To be determined by the Regulations
|Enforcement||How is gender pay gap reporting enforced?
||The Equality and Human Rights Commission enforces compliance with the UK regulations, although it is largely toothless. No fines have ever been imposed and few investigations are carried out. The EHRC restricts its activities only to those who do not publish anything, or who publish figures which are obviously inaccurate
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission can bring an application to the Circuit or High Court to compel an employer to comply
Complaints by individuals may also be made to the WRC. While the current Irish legislation does not set out specific sanctions or fines, the Director General of the WRC can make an order requiring the employer to take a specified course of action