Minimum wage reduced gender gap
by Diarmaid Mac a Bhaird

The introduction of the statutory minimum wage reduced the gender pay gap for lower-paid workers in Ireland, but did not affect the wage gap at any other salary levels, according to a new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).


The study Minimum wages and the gender gap in pay, examines how the gender wage gap changed following the introduction of the minimum wage in Ireland in 2000 and in the UK a year earlier.


The report says the positive impact on the gender pay gap at lower income levels happened because women are more likely than men to work in low paid jobs. It found that salaries of the lowest payed men was 24% higher than the lowest payed women prior to the introduction of minimum pay. This dropped to 5% after it was introduced.


The introduction of the minimum wage in the UK didn’t have the same impact on gender pay differences because of different patterns of compliance.


Co-author of the study Karina Doorley said: “In the UK, most of those earning less than the minimum wage after its introduction were women while in Ireland, men and women were equally likely to experience minimum wage non-compliance.”

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