Employment Law: Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 signed into law

The Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 has been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas and signed into law by the President. It has not yet been commenced. Once commenced, the Act will require employers to publish information relating to the gender pay gap among their employees. If there is a difference, reasons for such differences and measures to reduce the gap must be outlined. It is likely that the reporting process will commence in 2022.

In this article Michelle Cronin, Solicitor, CKT and Mary Maunsell, Intern, CKT give an overview of the Gender Pay Gap, the Act, and the responsibilities of employers.

What is the Gender Pay Gap?

The definition of the Gender Pay Gap is the percentage difference between the average gross hourly earnings for men and women. The current gender pay gap in Ireland is 14.4% according to Eurostat. This is a decrease from 17.3% in 2007 and is below the EU average of 14.9%. The calculation does not take into account any reasons for the gap in pay such as hours worked, the type of work involved etc.

Although the principle of equal pay for equal work has long been enshrined into the Irish workforce, there are currently no obligations on employers to report on gender pay gaps.  The introduction of the Bill is timely as the EU has recently issued a Directive on pay transparency. Minister O’Gorman stated, “With the passage of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, pay transparency is now one step closer. Reporting of the gender pay gap by employers will provide accountability and transparency, helping to ensure that employers address the gender pay disparity between men and women.”

The gender pay gap is not to be confused with equal pay, which is governed by the Employment Equality Act, 1998 where Section 19 requires everyone to be paid the same rate of renumeration for “like work” The gender pay gap on the other hand relates to the pay difference between men and women across the company as a whole.

About The Gender Pay Gap Information Act, 2021

The Act amends the Employment Equality Act, 1998 by inserting Section 20A. This section specifies that the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth must, as soon as practicable after the commencement of Section 2 of the Act, make regulations requiring employers to publish specific information regarding remuneration of employees. According to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office, the gender pay gap in Ireland is currently 14.4% on average. The Regulations will specify the form, manner and frequency with which the information is to be published.

What Information Must be Published?

  • The difference between the mean and median hourly renumeration and bonus remuneration of full time and part time employees of the male gender and employees of the female gender along with the percentage of each paid a bonus remuneration and also the percentage of each who receive benefits in kind.
  • Employers will also be required to publish the reason for any differences which are attributable to gender and the measures being taken/being proposed to eliminate or reduce such difference.
  • Section 20A(9) specifies that employers may be required to publish the same information as required above in respect of temporary employees.

What Employers Does This Apply To?

The regulations will apply to those;

  • employing more than 250 immediately once the reporting is commenced.
  • employing less than 250 but 150 or more from two years after the anniversary of the regulations.
  • employing less than 150 three years after the anniversary of the regulations.

The regulations shall not apply to an employer having less than 50 employees.

Remedies Available

Any employee who finds that their employer is failing to comply with the requirements of the Bill will be able to make an official complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). If the complaint is upheld by the WRC, it may compel the employer to take specific action to comply with the gender pay gap reporting.

Furthermore, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission can apply to either the Circuit Court or High Court Order for an order requiring the employer to comply with the requirements of the Act.


It is expected that the reporting will commence in 2022. Employers should make themselves aware of the requirements and could now start looking at the systems that they have in place to provide such data.

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