Written answers

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Living Wage

Photo of Maurice QuinlivanMaurice Quinlivan (Limerick City, Sinn Fein)
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18. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will report on the progression of his plans to introduce a living wage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29960/21]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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One of the legacies of the pandemic must be a more inclusive society that rewards work and enterprise better. That means better terms and conditions for lower paid workers. Moving to a living wage is an important part of this. Of course, in doing so we need to recognise that many businesses are closed and are now loss-making, so we must do it in way that that does not cost jobs or cause people’s working hours to be reduced. That would be counter-productive.

The current Programme for Government makes the commitment to “progress to a living wage over the lifetime of the Government”.

This commitment forms part of a balanced approach to achieving an improved standard of living for the most vulnerable in our society.

I have asked the Low Pay Commission to begin examining the issues around this commitment and to make recommendations on the best approach to achieving it within the lifetime of the Government, as part of its work programme for 2021.  That work has started and the Low Pay Commission  will provide a report to me in the second half of this year.

The report will consider the policy, social and economic implications of a move to a living wage and the process by which Ireland could progress towards a living wage.

It will do this by looking at international evidence on living wages, examining different calculation methods and examining the policy implications of moving to a living wage in Ireland.

Following its completion, the Commission will submit the report to me for consideration.

The recommendations in the Commission’s report will inform the Government on the best practical approach to progress to a living wage in Ireland.

While the living wage initiative is being considered, the Government will continue to be guided by the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission with regard to any future changes in the minimum wage.

The minimum wage was established in 2000 at £4.40 (€5.58). Since then it has risen to €10.20.

In every year since its founding in 2015, the Low Pay Commission has recommended an increase in the minimum wage and this recommendation has always been accepted and implemented by the Government.

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