Low Pay Commission to report to Government by July

A new Low Pay Commission will report back to the Government on changes to the €8.65 minimum wage by July, ministers have said.

Low Pay Commission to report to Government by July

Workers and business owners will be consulted directly before any movement in the rate of the salary level.

The commission was created to “take the politics out of” setting the rate, according to Jobs Minister Richard Bruton as it was launched.

In order to set the annual level for the minimum wage, the nine-person commission will look at employment rates, the cost of living, and competitiveness.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the situation needed to be adjusted so that people were better off at work than on welfare.

“Work should pay more than welfare, and no household with a person in full-time work should be poor. This is not always the case,” Mr Kenny said.

The Taoiseach said it was morally unacceptable and economically unwise for people at work to be in poverty.

The Taoiseach repeated his pledge and said that 80,000 low-paid workers would be removed from the universal social charge, bringing the total to nearly 500,000, or one quarter of the work force.

About 100,000 people, or 4.7% of workers, are on the minimum wage.

Tánaiste Joan Burton argued for the creation of the Low Pay Commission after she became Labour leader in July in a bid to refocus the Government’s attention on the low paid.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association chief executive Mark Fielding said previous increases in the minimum wage had led to demands for wage hikes at other levels.

“From 2000 to 2007, wages in Ireland went up in the region of 52% as well and that scuttled our competitiveness,” he said.

But Mandate trade union’s John Douglas said wage rises were needed.

“Ireland is a very high-cost economy in terms of cost of living. The minimum wage hasn’t increased since 2007. It was set at 40% of the national median wage.

“If that was to be applied today that would bring the minimum wage north of €10 an hour.

“It has to be increased. It’s about decency, it’s about fairness, it’s about decent living wages, it’s about respect, it’s about making work pay,” he told RTÉ.

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