EU Equal Pay Day highlights the ongoing gender pay gap across the continent

The European Commission is warning that European women are effectively working for free from now until the end of the year.

EU Equal Pay Day highlights the ongoing gender pay gap across the continent.

According to the latest figures, men earn an average of 16% more than women across the 28 EU countries – meaning women effectively work for free from today.

In Ireland, women earn around 14% less than men.

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has warned that the gender pay gap has only narrowed by four percentage points in recent years – and has warned that more must be done to move the process forward.

“It has only narrowed in a very minimal way and the National Women’s Council have estimated it will take over 100 years for the gap to narrow to zero at this very slow rate,” she said.

“We need to do something pro-actively therefore in order to tackle it.

“Some countries – including Britain – have introduced pay transparency legislation, which would mean that employers would have to disclose on an anonymised basis the rates of pay in the workplace.”

The Seanad last month passed all stages of Labour’s Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap) Information Bill – which aims to address the issue.

If brought into law, the legislation would require larger companies to publish the details of their pay.

Senator Bacik called on the Government to proceed with the legislation – noting that it would have been “fitting and timely to have addressed the gender pay gap in the centenary year of 2018.”