In June 2021, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth commenced a review of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 and the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 (Equality Acts). As part of this review the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) conducted a public consultation on the Review of the Equality Acts between July and December 2021.

This month the Minister published a report which summarising the issues raised by the submissions to the public consultation on the Review of the Equality Acts. With 569 submissions included in the summary they incorporated a wide variety of subjects including all the equality grounds: gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, membership of the Traveller community, and housing assistant ground. Other issues raised in the submissions included the proposed protections for gender identity, the proposed ground for disadvantaged socio-economic status and the use of NDAs in discrimination settlements[1].

Many submissions also commented on the functioning and accessibility of the Equality Acts and proposed how the legislation could be more accessible to the public and better protect people from discrimination. Incorporating intersectionality into the legislation was also raised throughout the submissions.

One such submission was that of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) who have outlined that they published a second set of recommendations to Government as part of the review. IHREC’s submission sets out over 55 specific recommendations on access to justice and legal aid; on exemptions under the Equality Acts; on protected grounds; on positive duties; on positive action and measuring effectiveness and data collection. It also recommends the introduction of a ‘purpose and principle clause’ to guide implementation of the law[2].

The importance of the Equality legislation review cannot be understated and as we await considerations on this and related submissions, we can consider other legislative changes that are impending most notably the EU Directive on Pay Transparency.

Pay Transparency

With gender pays persisting globally and in the European Union, the United Nations first marked International Day for Equal Pay on 18 September 2020 in order to accelerate the realisation of the principle of ‘equal pay for work of equal value’. In 2022 the debate focused on pay transparency measures which in turn led to Pay Transparency Directive coming into force in June 2023 leaving Member States three years to transpose the legislation into national law.

The purpose of the Directive is to introduce pay transparency measures including:

  • Pay transparency for jobseekers
  • Right to information for employees
  • Reporting on gender pay gap
  • Joint pay assessment
  • Prohibition on Pay Secrecy
  • Pay Structures that ensure equal pay for equal work
  • Better access to justice for victims of pay discrimination

The directive also references additional entitlements for workers such as those who have suffered gender pay discrimination receiving compensation, including full recovery of back pay and related bonuses or payments in kind. It is noted where the Employer did not fulfil its transparency obligations, it will be for the Employer, not the Worker, to prove that there was no discrimination in relation to pay, placing the burden of proof solely on the Employer.

The legislation itself will also include the provision of sanctions including fines so it will be of paramount importance that Organisations are preparing for these changes in advance ensuring the application of the Directive is fully compliant.

How can Organisations prepare?

There are currently two private member Bills relating to the area of gender pay transparency before the Oireachtas and while they are both at early stages of the process it is timely for Organisations to commence the planning process that is impact driven and results orientated thus creating a transparency around this important subject.

In Ireland guidance can be found in IHREC’s code of practice on equal pay. The code seeks to promote the development and implementation of procedures that establish workplaces where employees receive equal pay for like work.

The code aims to give practical guidance to Employers, Employers’ Organisations, trade unions and Employees on:

  • The right to equal pay
  • The elimination of pay inequality, and
  • The resolution of pay disputes

There a number of practical considerations and plans to put in place in order to prepare for compliance and plan for change. A strategic approach on your Organisation’s remuneration model will assist you in identifying gaps, risks and challenges.

This process could include:

  • Development of a Communications Strategy that specifically addresses Pay Transparency
  • Developing Remuneration Policies and Procedures
  • Reviewing your existing recruitment process and identifying gaps
  • Review any shortfalls & develop an action plan to address and mitigate any risks
  • Implementation of a Pay Review process including:
    • Collection of data including job descriptions or role profiles describing the relevant jobs
    • Analysis of job data and observation of the role being evaluated (job evaluation)
    • Analysis of pay data: identification of any apparent differentials in pay for same/similar jobs or jobs of equal value and the reasons for such differentials; and
    • ​Implementation of equal pay through consistent pay monitoring, transparency planning and benchmarking


If your Organisation requires support, advice or guidance on developing and implementing a Strategic Approach to Total Reward or employee relations support contact our expert-led team at Adare Human Resource Management.

Dublin Office: (01) 561 3594 | Cork Office: (021) 486 1420 | Shannon Office: (061) 363 805 |

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