The Case for Mandatory Joint Ethnicity and Gender Pay Gap Reporting Legislation in Ireland

Aug 09, 2019

Workplace Equality - a need for change

I have prepared a report making the Case for Mandatory Joint Ethnicity and Gender Pay Gap Reporting Legislation in Ireland. I have copied the Executive Summary below and you can read the full report here. I was lucky enough to sit on a panel with Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee (Chair of the Oireachtas Cross Party Group on Workplace Equality) and Sonya Lennon to mark #WorkEqual day. She took the time to meet with me to discuss this, which I am very thankful to her for, and I submitted this report to her, making the case for Joint Ethnicity and Gender Pay Gap Reporting Legislation in Ireland.

It's a simple amendment to our current Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting Bill. The world has moved on from a focus solely on gender diversity, we are now all working towards a world that is fair and equal for everyone. This amendment to the current Pay Gap Bill will put Ireland ahead of the U.K., who have committed to enacting similar legislation. Organisations are so committed to this dual form of reporting that some large companies in the U.K., have made the decision to start disclosing this information voluntarily and year on year we can already see an improvement on both the gender and ethnicity pay gaps in these organisations.

Some of the further reading articles below are quite shocking. The articles and our recent presidential and local elections have highlighted that we have a problem with race and minorities that needs to be addressed in Ireland. Thousands of people voting for intolerant candidates can't be dismissed. These are real people, who work in normal jobs whose ignorance around race and minorities is being manipulated by a number of individuals. The number of intolerant people is only growing thanks to a growing alt-right movement, particularly with young men, which is terrifying as they are supposed to be our hope for the future.

Legislation like this is needed if we really all are striving for equality for all, not just equality for women.

Concerning statistics

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith OBE was commissioned by the UK government to review race in the workplace in the UK. Her findings were, in her own words,“diabolical”.

In Ireland, research by The Equality Authority and European Network Against Racism Ireland (ENAR Ireland), have found similar concerning statistics. ENAR Ireland believes that Afrophobia, in particular, has been ignored by the state without actions to deal with the problems that in some cases relate to the public discourse around the 2004 referendum. The EU agrees. In March 2019, the EU passed a resolution, with an overwhelming majority, on EU countries addressing Afrophobia in their own countries. Research by Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), recently published, has found clear evidence of discrimination on recruitment for people with foreign-sounding names and/or people of colour who live in Ireland. This report makes the case for joint mandatory ethnic and gender diversity pay gap reporting using data analysis and research. In the UK some companies, such as PwC, EY, KPMG and Deloitte are already voluntarily disclosing both pay gaps. UK legislation on mandating ethic diversity pay gap is expected and was called for in Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith OBE’s report.

Suggested methodology

The potential tax losses as a result of inaction, in particular, are examined in this report. McGregor-Smith found addressing the issue of discrimination in the workplace is expected to add billions to the UK economy. This report proposes that the same rules for gender pay gap reporting are applied for ethnicity pay gap reporting. The report also includes details of a suggested methodology and suggestions for methods of data gathering. In making this amendment, to the current gender legislation bill, the government will address the EU resolution, increase tax revenue and encourage organisations to tackle bias in the workplace. This will have a positive effect in Ireland overall, with more tax revenues and hopefully less racism/bias-related incidents socially, as a result of the government and workplaces appropriately addressing this issue.

First published on 18 June 2019 by Deborah Somorin, Assistant Manager at PWC Ireland, Chairwoman and Founder of Empower the Family