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Thursday 18 September 2014

Living wage needs to be 32pc higher than minimum wage

Published 03/07/2014 | 10:32

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People in Ireland need to earn €11.45 an hour to be on a "living wage"
People in Ireland need to earn €11.45 an hour to be on a "living wage"

People in Ireland need to earn €11.45 an hour to be on a "living wage" according to new research.

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Anti-poverty campaigners have calculated the level of income they say is needed to provide an adequate standard of living.

They want this level of pay to be extended to low-paid workers following the example of a similar movement in Britain and the US where some employers have committed to paying workers " living wage" rates which are above national minimum wage rates.

The rate is 32pc higher than the minimum wage in Ireland which is currently set at €8.65 an hour.

It was calculated based on a detailed appraisal of all living costs including accommodation, food, energy, transport etc.

It was calculated by a Living Wage  Technical Group with experts from the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, trade unions and other groups.

Research has shown one in six adults living in poverty has a job, said Dr Sean Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland.

"It is time Ireland recognised this reality and moved to ensure that every adult with a job earns at least the equivalent of a living wage" he said.

Just this week Nestle in Britain became the first major manufacturer there to pledge to pay a "living wage" around 20pc higher than the minimum wage to all employees including interns and trainees.

Many other smaller employers in the UK have already agreed to do so.

Dr Nat O'Connor of the think-tank TASC said a living wage would be an important step in tackling economic inequality in Ireland as simply creating more jobs wasn't enough.

"There is a growing split in Ireland between those with good jobs and those in insecure part-time or low-paid employment," he said.

SIPTU said it will seek to implement these wage rates for lowpaid workers.

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