Belfast Telegraph

Paid parental leave is crucial to tackling gender pay gap, minister says

Paid parental leave is crucial to ensuring a level playing field for women in work, a Government minister has said.

As a special symposium was held in Dublin to debate the gender pay gap, Minister for Business , Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys said that despite progress on the issue men are still paid 13.9% more.

"So, closing the gender pay gap makes good business sense, and brings greater profitability to the economy as a whole," she said.

"But, in order to tackle this issue, we need to take an all-of-government approach.

"The Taoiseach has spoken about Fine Gael's aspiration to have paid family leave that can be shared between parents in the first year of their child's life, and how we are determined to make it a reality.

"That, to me, will be a crucial step along the way, as we work to level the playing field for women in the workplace, and close the gap."

Ms Humphreys joined Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan for the event in Iveagh House where they noted government commitments to reduce the gender pay gap.

Mr Flanagan said: "This year, a century after women in Ireland achieved the right to vote, it is now time for a great stride forward."

He said those invited to the symposium from the worlds of politics, government, business, trade unions, professions, academia and civil society were being tasked with identifying reforms to address the gender pay gap.

Mr Flanagan said that initiatives already under way to tackle gender pay issues include investment in childcare and proposals on paid parental leave.

"Legislation to improve pay transparency will be a key part of the Government's response and the shape of that legislation will be influenced by factors including this symposium," he said.

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