By the end of this year, large organisations in the Republic of Ireland must report on pay across the genders and explain any disparity. Can the UK experience shed any light on the future?

5 years on: UK gender pay gap reporting

When gender pay gap reporting was introduced in the UK, the intention was to spotlight pay inequities and encourage change. It has certainly exposed the challenges still faced.

For example, women in the UK earned a median average of 15.4% less per hour than men in April 2021, up from 14.9% the previous year.

This widening of the gap applied to the majority of job types, but was most marked among the highest earners.

The top 10% of men in the highest salary bracket earned 16.1% more than their female colleagues, compared with 7.9% for those with median earnings.

Taking a wider view, the picture is more positive. While the recent pandemic saw an increase in the gender pay gap, disparity has fallen overall by more than a quarter in the last decade.

Note that reporting is only compulsory for organisations with 250 or more employees. So, the vast number of smaller businesses are not represented.

2022: Gender pay gap reporting arrives in Ireland

Right now, businesses in Ireland are preparing to publish their pay gap data before the end of 2022, to comply with the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021.

They will also need to draft a statement declaring why any gap exists and what they intend to do to address it.

Initially, only those businesses employing more than 250 staff are required to publish their pay gap data before the end of 2022.

By 2024, the new legislation will also cover organisations with 150 employees or more, and those with over 50 by 2025.

Join our webinar on Gender Pay Gap Reporting in the Republic of Ireland.

Where next for pay gap reporting?

Pay gap reporting is unlikely to stop at gender, particularly in the UK. For example, the government held a 2018 consultation on ethnicity pay reporting. Bodies like the Women and Equalities Committee for MPs are urging the introduction of legislation by April 2023.

The government is also considering whether large employers should be compelled to report on disability pay gaps. This is part of the DWP’s National Disability Strategy, published this summer and entering consultation later this year.

The growing prominence of diversity, equity, and inclusion means that we can expect further developments in this field.

Get the support to report (and take action)

Zellis is already supporting companies to get clarity on pay gap issues. Our Equal Pay Reviewer software enables us to take a snapshot of your data.

We set up equal work groups to analyse it in detail and make pay comparisons based on whichever protected characteristics you wish to focus on.

Learn more about equal pay audits and gender pay gap reporting