Dáil debates

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Employment Equality (Pay Transparency) Bill 2022: First Stage


4:10 pm

Photo of Rose Conway-WalshRose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I acknowledge the work of my colleague, Deputy Daly, and his office on this Bill. The more transparency around wages, the better for all workers as it can help to ensure they get a fair deal from employers. Pay transparency is also an important tool for tackling the gender pay gap and other forms of pay-related discrimination. Progress has been made in the area of pay transparency in recent years, as outlined by my colleague.

This legislation is an important step in strengthening the position of workers, specifically in the job application process. The legislation will make it a requirement to publish salaries on job advertisements. Anyone who has searched for a job, especially online, will be familiar with scrolling down and finding, where one expects to see a salary, instead of an actual figure, phrases such as "depending on experience” or “competitive salary”.

The truth is that the lack of transparency and asymmetric information reduces the bargaining power of the applicant and skews the power in favour of the employer. Knowing the salary upfront lets a candidate understand whether a job will be financially viable for him or her before committing the time and effort to apply. It shows workers already in the job what salaries are being offered to attract new employees. Leaving the employer to negotiate with the successful candidate on salary after the fact can lead to women, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and minorities often ending up on a lower salary.

An increasing body of research shows salary transparency is a way of creating a more equitable workplace. In the third level sector, in particular, we know that working conditions for tutors, lecturers and researchers have been eroded by the employment practices of underfunded colleges. We also know that it is disproportionately women and minorities on precarious contracts. I recently spoke to a woman who has been moved from short-term contract to short-term contract for 18 years. We need to skew the contracts and what is offered, in terms of the worker, to protect the worker's rights and give equal power to both the employer and the workers.


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