While the publication of the long-awaited Gender Pay Gap Bill is welcome, SIPTU members continue to have concerns over important aspects of the proposed legislation, according to the union’s Head of Equality and Policy, Marie Sherlock. “We hope and expect that introduction of this type of legislation will have a significant impact on increasing pay transparency within firms across Ireland. This Bill has been delayed for some time and we call on the Minister of State for Equality, David Stanton, to ensure its timely movement through the Houses of the Oireachtas,” she said. “When we appeared with representatives from ICTU and Forsa before the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality some time ago, we expressed a number of key concerns about the scope of the proposed legislation. “For example, the Bill fails to compare the hourly rate between full-time and part-time male and female workers. Using the latest available CSO data from administrative sources, we know that in 2014, the average weekly gender pay gap was estimated to be as large as 31% in Ireland. “International research has demonstrated that these gaps arise because of a range of factors such as occupational segregation and a work trap, where a high share of women become locked into part-time, low wage work arrangements with no prospect of progression.  In that context, we do not believe that solely comparing female with male part-time workers will provide any significant insight. “What is also of concern is that it is left to the Minister to decide whether to compare male and female temporary staff. The more insightful measure would be to compare temporary versus permanent male and female workers. “Finally, for this legislation to have the intended impact, we call on the Government to reduce the minimum threshold of applicable firms from those with 50 employees to 20 employees. As it currently stands, the Bill will capture just 1.4% of firms and 57% of all employees, based on the CSO’s 2016 Business demography data. Lowering the threshold to 20 employees would capture 70% of employees.”