News & Media

Government struggles to meet their own minimum wage target

11 July 2019

Statement by Senator Ged Nash
Spokesperson on Employment and Social Protection

Senator Ged Nash, who set up the statutory Low Pay Commission (LPC) said the government is struggling to meet its own Programme for Government target of a national minimum wage of €10.50 by the time it leaves office.

Responding to reports that the minimum wage will rise to €10.10 an hour next year, Senator Nash said:

“The €10.50 rate was a modest ambition in the first place. With this government entering its dying days, it is highly unlikely that the target it set itself three years ago of a minimum wage of €10.50 per hour will be met.

“This year’s recommended increase from the LPC which is likely to go live on the 1st January 2020 falls short of the average expected wage growth in the economy.

“Ireland’s lowest paid workers should not be left behind as the economy continues to grow.

“Labour’s submission to the review process made the case for national minimum wage of €10.55 in 2020, climbing to at least the rate of a Living Wage thereafter.

“Ireland continues to have a problem with low pay. The OECD says that any worker earning below two-thirds of median hourly income is low paid. That accounts for 20% of all Irish workers.

“It is an unacceptably high figure and the human and societal consequences of low pay are very real.

“When the minimum wage was first established by Mary Harney, it was set at 66% of median income but it has drifted since.

“That connection needs to be re-established if we are to ensure that work always pays.

“Otherwise, the State will continue to be treated as a soft touch by many employers in the retail and hospitality sectors in particular where all too many staff depend on payments like the Working Family Payment to make ends meet.”