Out-Law Analysis 4 min. read
14 Jun 2022, 2:36 pm
In the wake of the implementation of the Irish Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 in July 2021, the Irish government has recently published gender pay gap (GPG) reporting regulations.
The regulations (13 page / 174KB PDF) outline how GPG metrics should be calculated and what should be reported.
They confirm that employers with 250 or more employees will need to publish the difference between the mean and median hourly and bonus remuneration of male and female employees, expressed as a percentage.
These employers will also have to report the difference between the mean and the median hourly remuneration of part-time and temporary male and female employees, expressed as a percentage; the percentage of male and female employees who were paid bonuses and benefits in kind; and the percentage of male and female employees in the lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper quartile pay bands.
Employers are required to select any date in the month of June each year, which will become their ‘snapshot date’ for the purposes of the regulations. Employers with 250 or more employees on their snapshot date will be required to report on their GPG metrics once each year, within six months of this snapshot date.
Companies are likely to come under scrutiny if they have a large gender pay gap, and it will be important for them to contextualise the gap and have targeted action plans to address the underlying causes for their gap
The first reporting period will be the 12 months preceding and including the employer's snapshot date. If an employer has less than 250 employees on their snapshot date, they are not required to report for 2022.
The regulations clarify that a ‘relevant employee’ is an employee of an employer with 250 or more employees on the snapshot date, including part-time employees.
Employers may publish their GPG information on their website so it is accessible to their employees and the public. If they do not have a website, they can publish a physical report and keep it at their registered office or place of business where it can be viewed by their employees and the public.
Employers who have a company intranet may wish to publish their report in an electronic format online for their employees.
It is understood that a central website will be established next year onto which employers will be required to upload their information and accompanying statements, much like the position in the UK.
Where the information contained in the GPG report shows differences relating to remuneration that relate to gender, the employer will be required to also publish a statement setting out, in the employer’s opinion, the reasons for these differences, and any measures being taken, or proposed to be taken, by the employer to eliminate or reduce such differences.
Companies are likely to come under scrutiny if they have a large GPG, and it will be important for them to contextualise the gap and have targeted action plans to address the underlying causes for their gap.
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has prepared a guidance note (9-page / 709KB PDF) and FAQ for Employers (10-page / 706KB PDF) on how to calculate the GPG metrics. The department will update the FAQs as questions arise and will be issuing further guidance on how salary top-ups for statutory leave should be treated for the purpose of the ordinary pay calculation.
At this stage relevant employers will need to select their snapshot date in June 2022. Employers should then ensure they have plans in place for undertaking this exercise as it is a new process for many and will take time.
It is helpful to put a support team in place to ensure that employee data is up to date and to identify or develop measures that will help address the GPG, as well as communications to assist in developing and presenting the report.
Employers will need to be mindful of which employees were full-time, part-time or temporary during the reporting period. Having this information to hand in a clear and concise manner will assist the support team in calculating the employees’ hourly remuneration correctly as well as the various other calculations that employers will be required to report on in December 2022.
The GPG reporting requirements will extend to employers with 150 or more employees in 2024 and employers with 50 or more employees in 2025.
Based on our experience of supporting clients with GPG reporting in other jurisdictions such as Great Britain, employers also need to think about their wider reporting strategy rather than simply complying with the letter of the law
It is particularly important for businesses to be aware of the various definitions provided throughout the regulations as they identify what and indeed who is to be included or excluded from the required calculations. This is especially the case for employers who may have already reported in other jurisdictions as the definitions do vary.
Based on our experience of supporting clients with GPG reporting in other jurisdictions such as Great Britain, employers also need to think about their wider reporting strategy rather than simply complying with the letter of the law. Issues which should be considered by all relevant internal stakeholders with specialist input include:
Employers are likely to come under pressure from various camps including employees, trade unions, the media and competitors to go above and beyond the minimum reporting requirements.
Strategic issues which are worth considering include whether a company should report for the group as a whole and whether companies which do not meet the threshold report voluntarily.
Employers with an international footprint should also consider how they address the issue of pay transparency, and whether they should only report GPG in jurisdictions where it is compulsory, or across their operations.
Co-written by equality law expert Jason McMenamin of Pinsent Masons
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