Gender Equality in Employment
Employment Equality was central to the achievement of gender equality in Ireland as it was contained as a key principle of the Treaty of Rome 1958, the Treaty which established the European Economic Community. Ireland's membership of the then EEC in 1973 required it to adopt the legislative acquis associated with that principle.
Despite this lengthy commitment to gender equality in employment, both in Europe and in Ireland, the achievement of true gender equality in the workplace is still a goal of both the European Union and its Members States, including Ireland.
Employment equality relates to equality between women and men with respect to their treatment, opportunities, and economic achievements in the workplace. The concept is often viewed in relation to the workplace and labour organisations.
Employment equality is an issue of continued importance in Ireland and internationally. In the context of increasing diversity and the greater engagement of women in the workforce, there is evidence of ongoing discrimination and inequality in the Irish labour market on a number of grounds, including gender.
Employment equality is beneficial for individuals to achieve their full potential, for the economy to utilise the skills and productivity of the workforce efficiently and for society to increase social cohesion.
Employment equality is also recognised as central to the full integration of the well educated female population of Ireland into the labour market to maximise their personal potential; their potential to contribute to economic growth and to ensure that they have adequate pension cover and avoid the risk of poverty in older years.
Employment equality is governed by a body of national legislation which deals with
- Family Leave entitlements
- Equality of pay for work of equal value
- Protection of women during pregnancy
The following are the key pieces of legislation
- Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004
- Adoption Leave Acts 1995 and 2005
- Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2006
- The Employment Equality Acts 1998–2011.
- Equal Status Act 2000 – 2012.
- Carer’s Leave Act 2001
- Protection of Employees (Part-time Work) Act 2001
- Protection of Employees (Fixed-term Work) Act 2003
- National Minimum Wage Act 2000
- Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007
- Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012.
- Criminal Justice Act 2011
- Protected Disclosures Act 2014
Information on the national machinery for the implementation of these Acts can be found in the Legal Basis section of this website.
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