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Blog  »  March 2014  »  Have we caught up with pay equality? - Blog
Mar 14

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Have we caught up with pay equality?

The gender pay gap is still very much a controversial issue right across Europe.

Recent research by the European Commission revealed that on average across Europe women’s earnings are 16.4% below those of men. According to the statistics, gender pay differences are highest in Estonia at 30%, Slovenia leads the table with only 2.5% and Ireland is placed in 10th position with 14.4%, ahead of countries such as the UK, Germany and France.

In terms of sector, the gender pay gap is generally higher in the financial and insurance sector. In Ireland pay inequality raises to 20.6% in business economy workplaces.

The gender pay gap for those under 25 years of age is lowest in almost all European countries, and gradually increases as women get older. Reflecting the fact that, women’s family responsibilities do contribute to inequality figures. This would suggest that greater flexibility around sharing of parental leave between both the mother and father would be beneficial.

However, responsibility does also lie with employers; employers have an obligation to ensure that where men and women are performing the same or similar duties, then they are entitled to be paid the same rate. Where this is found not to be the case, employers could find themselves defending an Equality Tribunal claim, as was the case for an Garda Siochana in 2012 when clerical staff successfully brought a case of unequal pay treatment in which the Garda where ordered to close a pay gap of €9,000 per year.

Last Saturday 8th March was International Women’s Day. The day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action. Considering these result, it is fair to say that equal pay is an area where further action is required.

European Gender Pay Gap by Country

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