Written answers

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

National Minimum Wage

Photo of Maureen O'SullivanMaureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central, Independent)
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41. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which she can address the potential impact to the hairdressing industry due to the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 and the abolition of training rates; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15652/19]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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Legislation governing the national minimum wage is set down in the National Minimum Wage Acts 2000 and 2015.  These Acts provide for the setting of a national minimum wage (NMW) and also provide that in specified circumstances, such as younger workers and trainees, a reduced, sub-minimum rate may be applied.

In September 2015, the Low Pay Commission was requested to examine the appropriateness of the subminimum rates as provided for in the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 with regard, in particular, to their impact on youth unemployment rates and participation in education.

The Commission undertook a consultation process on this subject in line with its evidence-based approach to making recommendations to Government.  The consultation process was advertised nationally seeking submissions from interested parties; and the Commission sent a targeted email to a variety of interested parties seeking submissions, including the Irish Hairdressing Federation.

A number of further contacts were made with the Federation inviting it to make a submission on this matter and to participate in the oral hearings to discuss the subject held by the Commission in February 2016.

The Commission received 15 submissions in total, none of which came from the hairdressing sector.  The Irish Hairdressing Federation did not make a submission and did not participate in the oral hearings held by the Commission.

The Commission's final report was published in February 2018.

Having examined all available evidence and the submissions received, and having considered a range of options, the Commission recommended the abolition of training rates and the simplification of the age-based rates.  The rationale for the Commission’s recommendations is set out in its reports, which are available at www.lowpaycommission.ie.

The Low Pay Commission is an independent, authoritative body on matters relating to the national minimum wage and the I am confident that the Commission gave consideration to the impact of any recommendations it made in regard to training rates.

The Commission’s recommendations were accepted by Government and the amendments to make the necessary legislative changes to the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 were implemented via the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018.  In the passage of the Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas I set out the rationale for the changes, and the proposed measures received cross-party approval and were accepted without amendment.  The changes came into effect on 4 March 2019. 

Certain apprenticeships are excluded from the remit of the National Minimum Wage and it is open to the Hairdressing sector to consider whether such an apprenticeship would be appropriate in that sector.


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