Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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229. To ask the Minister for Finance the steps he is taking to identify and address gender pay disparity in his Department and public bodies and agencies that operate under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17357/22]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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The Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021, once regulations are made, will require certain employers to publish information relating to the remuneration of their employees by reference to the gender of such employees for the purpose of showing whether there are differences in such remuneration referable to gender.

My Department continually seeks to grow its people and enhance its culture to deliver an inclusive place to work and an environment where talented people are engaged, valued and choose to work to provide a world class service and expertise to the State. In line with Civil Service pay policy, all staff within my Department are paid according to a fixed pay scale for their relevant grade, regardless of gender.

My Department, through its Secretary General, is a member of the 30% Club, which is a global campaign supported by Board Chairs and CEOs of medium and large organisations committed to achieving better gender balance at leadership levels and throughout their organisation, for better business outcomes. Furthermore, my Department has hosted talks for staff by the 30% Club on achieving gender balance in the public sector.

State bodies under the aegis of my Department and which have employees have provided the following responses:

The Central Bank, which also provides staff for the Investor Compensation Company DAC, has been publishing an annual Gender Pay Gap Report since 2018. The published gender pay analysis and profile has been based on annualised base pay effective 1 January each year. All employees are aligned to pay grades which provide for equal pay for equal work irrespective of gender. Their pay structures are informed by public sector guidelines, are fully transparent and published on their website. As at 1 January 2021 in its most recent Gender Pay Gap Report, the gender pay profile is 2.2% in favour of male employees. The Bank is committed to continually reflecting on and enhancing its approach to all aspects of Diversity & Inclusion, including undertaking specific targeted actions aimed at improving gender representation and consequently gender pay gap reduction. The Bank will publish its Gender Pay Gap Report 2022 later this year in accordance with the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021. Looking ahead, gender forms a central part of the Bank’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2022-2026 and the 2022 Action Plan.

The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) has noted the provisions of the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 and the imminent regulations and will take all necessary steps to ensure its compliance with reporting requirements, both in compliance with the Act and in the interests of transparency. The FSPO also fully recognises its obligations and responsibilities with regards to the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015, and is committed to enabling access to employment for all persons. It operates its recruitment campaigns in compliance with the Codes of Practice for Appointment to Positions in the Civil Service and Public Service and is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for prospective candidates. The FSPO has emphasised the requirement to achieve an inclusive and diverse workplace over the course of the next strategic period. This will include the development of a dedicated HR strategy as well as work to implement identified actions for improvement in accordance with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, whereby the Public Sector Duty places a statutory obligation on public bodies to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect the human rights of to service users and staff alike.

The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council is an equal opportunities employer. Salary grading is in line with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform circulars on public sector pay. It’s Recruitment Policy and Procedures defines equality of opportunity at the Fiscal Council in respect of recruitment, equality of participation in the workplace and assurance that no one will receive less favourable treatment because of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community.

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) continues the implementation of its Gender Balance Strategy, which focuses on fostering the representation of women at senior levels and enhancing women’s professional growth so that it can attract, retain and develop female employees. This is achieved through activities in the areas of learning and development, external partnerships and leave policies. The NTMA continues to monitor and consider initiatives to address possible or potential causes of gender pay disparity. It assigns staff to Home Building Finance Ireland, the National Asset Management Agency and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, each of which is also a body under the aegis of my Department.

The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General is an equal opportunities employer. Its recruitment and promotion is undertaken in accordance with the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 and the code of practice issued by the Commission on Public Service Appointments. Pay rates for all staff are determined by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. All staff are remunerated on the basis of incremental salary scales for each grade. There are no bonus payments. In 2021, there was a 50:50 ratio of female to male employees. For the third consecutive year, there was no material, i.e. 2% or more, difference in pay rates for female and male employees of the Office in 2021.

The Office of the Revenue Commissioners published in 2020, for the first time, an analysis of their gender pay gap based on 2019 pay and staffing levels. This research documents the pay gap in Revenue and the factors that result in differences in pay levels between men and women. The analysis includes a statistical model that breaks down the gender pay gap into its constituent parts. Gender differences by grade are the leading cause of pay gap in Revenue, as women are over represented at more junior grades, and women are five times more likely to work part-time. The analysis shows there is no unidentified explanation, such as wage discrimination, for the existence of Revenue’s gender pay gap. In 2022, Revenue updated this analysis based on 2021 data. €47,800 is the average annual gross pay for men in 2021; for women the average is €42,300. Revenue’s gender pay gap in 2021 is estimated to be €5,500 or 12%. Furthermore, the analysis shows that Revenue’s gender pay gap is narrowing, it has reduced by a quarter since 2019, from 16% in 2019 to 12% in 2021.

Revenue has also advised that changing gender shares across grades is identified as a key cause of the stronger pay growth for women and the associated reduction in the pay gap in 2021. The impact of changing grade shares is primarily due to hiring and retirements, with promotion of existing staff playing a limited role in the explanation. The reduction in the gap between 2019 and 2021 is due to the share of women in more senior grades increasing (while their share in more junior grades decreased) and increases in the share of women working full-time. The pay gap has also reduced within the cohort of workers who work full-time, reducing from 12% to 8%.

The Tax Appeals Commission has maintained gender pay parity since its formation in 2016.


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