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Women's carer role is reason for gender pay gap: lawyers

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Vanessa Byrne: ‘There is still work to be done to encourage equality’. Photo: Colm Mahady/Fennells

Vanessa Byrne: ‘There is still work to be done to encourage equality’. Photo: Colm Mahady/Fennells

Vanessa Byrne: ‘There is still work to be done to encourage equality’. Photo: Colm Mahady/Fennells

The majority of both male and female in-house lawyers believe the main cause of the gender pay gap is the role of family carer falling mainly on women.

This is according to research carried out by legal firm Mason Hayes & Curran.

The term carer covers both women on maternity leave and/or employees who may have a flexible arrangement in place to care for children or elderly relatives.

However, fewer than one in four men views the pay gap as an issue in their industry.

Of those that look part in the survey, 68pc of females believe the gender pay gap is a problem, compared with 23pc of male respondents.

Vanessa Byrne, partner at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: "2019 saw the introduction of new parental leave entitlements for employees in Ireland, but our survey data shows that there is still work to be done in order to encourage equality to begin at home with men taking leave at a similar rate as women to share the caring burden."

The report comes months before the Government is expected to enact its Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, which will require some businesses to make public any differences in the average pay of male and female employees.

The new regulation will initially hit companies with 250 staff or more, meaning most firms here will be exempt from reporting the variances.

In order to address the problem of pay disparities in the workplace, the majority of respondents are in favour of intervention at company level over Government legislation.

Most of those surveyed said businesses should provide staff with greater internal pay transparency and clearer communication from management on how bonuses and pay are determined.

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The use of quotas in business continues to divide opinion, with 43pc of respondents in favour of such positive discrimination policies, while 42pc are not.

More than 160 male and female lawyers took part in the survey. Now in its second year, the survey was first carried out in 2018 among female lawyers.

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