25% still on minimum wage after four years

A quarter of employees earning the minimum wage or under have worked for their employer for four years or more.

A report also found that foreign nationals, part-time workers, and those with lower educational attainment are more likely to experience longer periods on the minimum wage.

The figures are contained in a report by the Low Pay Commission on the length of time employees spend on the national minimum wage.

The report, which uses figures taken from the Central Statistics Office’s Quarterly National Household Survey, found that:

  • More than 41% of those aged 15 to 24 were on the national minimum wage;
  • Just 10% of those aged 25 to 34 were on the national minimum wage, even though that age group had the highest number of people earning the minimum wage or less.

The report said a disproportionately higher number of younger workers earn the minimum wage or less compared to older workers but also said: “The minimum wage is not confined to younger workers earning the minimum wage as a starter rate.”

The Low Pay Commission also considered an ESRI report on the labour market transitions of minimum wage workers and said the CSO needs to develop a comprehensive dataset on earnings, linked to details on both the employer and employee.

The commission said it understood the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will bring forward a report to the committee on social protection by the end of next month that will review the operation of the working family payment and that will consider potential disincentives to work arising from the welfare system.

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