Companies across Ireland will start to publish information on their gender pay gaps from today.
Firms of all sizes are being mandated to produce a report outlining the differential in pay and bonuses between their male and female employees.
Companies with 250 or more employees were asked to select a date in June this year as their 'relevant date' on which to base their reports.
They were then given six months to publish their findings with the first of the companies expected to start reporting from today.
The obligation will extend to employers with 150 or more staff in June 2024 and to those that employ 50 or more in June 2025.
Employers must consider all full-time and part-time employees on the payroll, including those on paid leave, those not rostered to work on the relevant date and those who have worked less than 12 months in the organisation.
Where a pay gap is found to exist, the employer is obliged to set out why it exists and any proposed measures to eliminate or reduce the pay gap.
"It's not too onerous for companies," Ann Kelleher, Director in Global Employee Services at Deloitte Ireland told Morning Ireland.
"The most challenging point is that they have to make sure that they have systems and data to produce the metrics," she added.
Ms Kelleher said the gender pay gap reporting was all about looking at representation in an organisation.
"The fact that the regulation requires companies to break the data into quartiles, you'll be able to see from the lowest levels in the company to the highest where females are being represented. We know that the main reasons for the pay gap is the lack of female representation and especially at the senior levels in an organisation," she explained.
The report must be published on the company website where it must be accessible to employees and the public for three years or, alternatively, a physical copy must be made available for inspection at the employer's registered office or main place of business during normal business hours.
There are plans to develop an online reporting system where employer reports can be uploaded and accessed publicly.
The national gender pay gap in Ireland is estimated to be 11.3%, according to Eurostat figures based on 2019 data.
That compares to an EU average of 13%.
"This day has been some time coming and is a vital step towards ensuring fairness and transparency in the Irish workplace," Director of CIPD Ireland, Mary Connaughton said of the new reporting regime.
"It really is a groundbreaking move for this country. The timing is also relevant because we know how the pandemic has hit female workers around the world particularly hard".
Ms Connaughton advised employers to be aware that the information would be noted internally too.
"We won't get individual pay details, but this is likely to be the first time pay information has been shared to any great extent. It’s bound to be discussed among workers and we advise employers to educate people on the gender pay gap and encourage questions and conversations on the issue," she concluded.