Minimum wage increase too modest
by Roisin McKane

The national minimum wage looks set to increase by 25 cent following a submission by the Low Pay Commission to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty, last week. This would be less than the widely-criticised 30 cent rise recommended last year.

If accepted by Government, as expected, the minimum rate of hourly pay rise would rise from €9.55 to €9.80. But unions have said the minimum wage should be aligned with the higher non-statutory living wage instead.

Earlier this month the Living Wage Technical Group said the living wage should rise by 20 cent to €11.90 an hour. The living wage is a measure of the income needed to support a socially acceptable standard of living.

While the proposed increase in the national minimum wage is welcome, it still stands at €2.10 an hour less than the revised living wage.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has called on the Government to align the national minimum wage with the living wage as soon as possible. Its industrial officer Liam Berney commended the Commission for its work.

“Its proposed increase would narrow the gap between the living wage and the national minimum wage, albeit marginally. But the economy is roaring. We have the lowest annual inflation rate in the Euro area. Government should not shirk from this opportunity to make a positive impact on the living standards of our lowest paid workers. Decent wages are of fundamental importance to building a fair and inclusive society,” he said.

For more information on the living wage click here.

For more information on the national minimum wage click here.

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