Written answers

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

National Minimum Wage

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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20. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his views on raising the minimum wage to €15 an hour, in light of the rising cost of living; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45143/22]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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We want to reward work and ensure that work pays more. Minimum wage workers are among the hardest working people in Ireland and deserve to paid more particularly at a time or rising prices.

Yesterday, the Government agreed to accept the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation to increase the National Minimum Wage by 80 cent to €11.30 from the 1st of January 2023. At least 164,000 people, possibly more are estimated to be in line for this increase, with many others on slightly higher pay levels also getting a knock-on increase.

That works out at an extra €30 per week, around €120 a month or €1,664 a year if you’re working full-time.

Ireland has a well-established system for setting the minimum wage based on the Low Pay Commission and this system works well.

The Low Pay Commission is made up of an equal number of employer representatives, employee representatives, and independent members which helps to provide a balanced view when determining an appropriate rate for the National Minimum Wage. In addition, the establishing legislation requires the Low Pay Commission to give consideration to a range of issues when arriving at a recommendation for the appropriate National Minimum Wage rate. These issues include the cost of living, competitiveness and the likely effect that any proposed recommendation will have on future levels of employment. The Government respects the Commission and its independence.

As the Deputy is aware, I want to move from a minimum wage to a living wage so that work pays more.

I outlined proposals in June, after which we started a public consultation seeking submissions from the public on the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations and on a ‘strawman proposal’ which provided an illustrative example of how a living wage might be phased in over a 4-year timeframe. The public consultation closed in August. It received 46 submissions which are now being reviewed and analysed.

The work of an interdepartmental working group and the public consultation results will inform a final Government decision on the adoption of a living wage over a specified number of years. I expect to be able to make an announcement on this next month.

The new National Minimum Wage of €11.30 is in line with the living wage strawman proposal. As such, next year can be considered the first year of a proposed four-year path towards reaching the living wage of 60% of the median wage.


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