Clear details of wages will have to be given in job postings under a new law billed as a “game-changer” for women.
The European Parliament approved a new directive on pay transparency last Thursday, which should become national law within three years.
All employers will be required by law to comply with new rules that are expected to give job seekers and employees much more transparency about salaries.
Bosses will be required to provide information about the initial pay level or range of pay offered in a job posting prior to an interview.
Employers are also not allowed to ask applicants about their salary history. Other important measures include the right for all employees to ask their employer for information about wage levels within a company.
They can ask for the average salary level broken down by gender for staff doing the same or similar work for them.
In addition, if the gender pay gap report shows a difference of at least 5 percent, they may be asked to conduct a pay assessment.
There are also measures for victims of pay discrimination. They include compensation with full arrears.
Employers, rather than employees, will have to prove that there was no discrimination in terms of pay. Sanctions will include fines.
When asked when Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman plans to pass the directive into law, a ministry spokesman said it would be “as soon as possible”.
“Detailed consideration of the measures needed to complete the transposition of the directive into national law will begin shortly,” she said.
“Some elements, such as gender pay gap reporting by employers, are in place, but may need to be changed to bring them into line with the detailed provisions of the directive. It is the intention of the minister to transpose the directive as soon as possible.”
A PwC analysis of the first mandatory pay gap reports last December revealed an average gender pay gap of nearly 13 percent. The new directive aims to ensure equal pay and justice for victims of pay discrimination.
No more double standards, no more excuses
Vera Jourova, European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said there should be “no more double standards, no more excuses”.
“Women need to know if their employers treat and value them equally,” she said.
“For this to happen, we need more transparency on pay levels, starting with interviews. The new wage transparency rules will be a breakthrough for women in Europe.”
ICTU social policy officer, Laura Bambrick, said the directive was “excellent” and meant those who were underpaid and undervalued in their old job would not “follow” it to the next one.
Peninsula Ireland process and compliance manager Nora Cashe said that in the current situation there is no legal right for a potential employee to know what someone already doing the advertised job was being paid.
“The idea is that if salary information is more readily available, it should help candidates without professional connections avoid underselling themselves on salary and ultimately be able to negotiate better pay and benefits,” she said.
Isme general secretary Neil McDonnell said: “People tend to want to know the market level for wages in their industry, even if they don’t want others to know what they themselves earn.”