Women work one month 'for free'
Published 28/02/2014 | 02:30
IRISH women work "for free" for over one month of the year because they earn substantially less than their male colleagues.
The gender pay gap in Ireland stands at 14.4pc, according to the latest figures, and has widened considerably since 2008 when it was 12.6pc.
However, Irish women fare considerably better than their other European counterparts – with the average EU gender pay gap standing at 16.4pc.
Women in Estonia are worst-off, with a gender pay gap of 30pc, while women in Slovenia are best, enduring a gender pay gap of just 2.5pc, according to the figures from Eurostat.
A lack of transparency in pay systems, an unclear legal definition of work of equal value and "procedural obstacles" were found to be the reason for the gender gap, according to a report by the European Commission last December.
The commission has now flagged today as European Equal Pay Day – to mark the date in the new calendar year from which women "really" begin to be paid for their work when compared with men.
It said the pay gap means European women work 59 days "for free" until they match the amount earned by men. This is slightly less for Irish women because our gender pay gap is 2pc less than the European average – but it still means Irish women do over a month's work gratis.
"Following years of inaction, it is time for a change," said vice-president Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.