Codes of Practice published on Equal Pay & Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work
Michelle McDonagh, Senior HR Client Relationship Consultant,Adare Human Resource Management
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) recently published two new Codes of Practice on Equal Pay and Sexual Harassment & Harassment at Work. The Codes of Practice provide guidance for employers, trade unions and employees to ensure equal pay is given for like work as well as protecting employees from sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace.
The provisions laid out in both codes are admissible in evidence in proceedings before the Courts, the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.
Code of Practice on Equal Pay
The Code aims to provide guidance to employers and employees as well as representative groups on:
· The right to equal pay for like work
· Identifying and eliminating pay inequality
· Resolution of pay disputes
Irish equality law sets out nine protected grounds on the basis of which a person cannot be discriminated against, which are gender, marital status, family status, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion and membership of the Traveller community.
To establish a claim for equal pay under the legislation, an employee must show that they are performing “like work” with that of a chosen comparator, that they are receiving less pay for that work than their comparator and the reason for this is based on one or more of the nine grounds mentioned above. The Code outlines the various elements to be considered when assessing comparators.
Guidance is provided in the Code to help employers identify pay inequality and includes ways to eliminate it, including how to conduct a pay review incorporating a rational and objective job evaluation model.
The Code sets out how an employee who believes that they are not being paid equal pay for their likework should firstly raise this internally before proceeding to the Workplace Relations Commission or Courts.
The Code aims to provide guidance to employers, trade unions and employees on:
· The meaning of sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace
· How it can be prevented
· Steps to ensure procedures are in place to deal with the issue and how to prevent it reoccurring.
The Code highlights that people in precarious work and new workers, including immigrant workers, are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and harassment. Guidance is given to support employers in addressing and resolving complaints. Advice is also provided to support the development of a comprehensive, effective and accessible policy that will minimise sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace.