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State bodies must follow An Post’s lead in eliminating gender pay gap – Higgins

28th December 2021 - Emer Higgins, TD

All State and semi-State organisations should record and publish gender pay data as a matter of urgency, as part of a collective effort to tackle gender pay disparity, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Deputy Emer Higgins said, “If we are serious about eliminating the gender pay gap, all organisations owned by the State must publish a gender breakdown of their salaries. They should not be waiting until they are compelled by law to do so.

“Lip service will no longer cut it, we need to see the hard facts and figures.

“Some organisations are leading the way on this issue. Earlier this month, An Post became the first major company in the country to report a zero gender pay gap. Over the past two years, they’ve eliminated the difference between average male and female hourly rates of pay from 3.7% to 0%.

“However, eliminating the gender pay gap is not an accolade all organisations can claim.

“Earlier this year, RTÉ’s own staff members demanded comprehensive details of the organisation’s gender pay gap after figures obtained in an FOI request showed a significant gap right along the pay scale.

“According to reports, of those earning between €100,000 and €150,000 a year at RTÉ, 68% were male while only 32% were female. On the other end of the scale, one in five women were earning less than €40,000, compared to almost only one in ten men.

“A few months later, when publishing salary figures, RTÉ refused to provide a gender breakdown of the numbers.

“Government is making significant progress on tackling this issue. The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill was signed into law last July and will require organisations to report on the pay differences between female and male employees, but there is no reason why State Bodies and other organisations can’t start gathering and publishing this information right away.

“Organisations should be providing this information because they are serious about closing the gender pay gap, not because they are simply compelled to do so by law.

“The public urgently require pay transparency, and public reporting by organisations will ensure employers are held to account and actively address pay disparity.

“The gender pay gap problem feeds into the larger issue of full representation of women across the board. I introduced a Bill earlier this year to establish a 40% quota for female representation on company boards. This is a measure which has already been adopted by several European countries and will address the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles while also having a positive outcome for businesses.

“If we are serious about ensuring equality of gender representation at all levels, we need to see organisations, in particular those supported by the State, stepping up to the plate immediately,” concluded Deputy Higgins.

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