The living wage has reached €12.90 an hour, well above the official statutory minimum wage of €10.20. That’s because rent increases, transport and energy costs have pushed the measure up by 60 cent in the last year, according to the Living Wage Technical Group (LWTG), which calculates the minimum full-time earnings needed to support an acceptable standard of living.
The LWTG, which calculates the living wage on behalf of the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, says that rents alone pushed up the living wage by 3.9%. It says Dublin housing costs now account for almost 65% of a living wage net salary.
The group added that energy prices for home heating and transport have also risen, increasing the upward pressure on costs for workers. However the cost of food, clothing and car insurance has fallen, slightly offsetting the impact of housing.
The LWTG estimates that around one-in-five full-time workers in Ireland are earning less than the minimum wage, despite the fact that a number of employers have committed to paying it.
Assistant professor of social policy at UCD, Micheál Collins, said the current minimum wage leaves many struggling financially.
“We base the living wage on a basket of goods that are determined to provide a single individual working full-time with a basic but reasonable standard of living. That includes a nutritious diet, basic levels of clothing and personal care, and health costs,” he said.
Last week, the Government said an increase to the minimum wage will be considered ahead of next month's Budget announcement.
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