Tuesday 6 December 2016

Tánaiste wants State employees to be paid a 'living wage' of €11.50 - rather than the lower minimum wage

Published 30/09/2015 | 14:54

Tánaiste Joan Burton outside Government Buildings
Tánaiste Joan Burton outside Government Buildings

Tánaiste Joan Burton has said she wants State employees to be paid a 'living wage' of up to €11.50 per hour rather than the lower minimum wage.

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She said she would like to see that happen 'over time' not just for public servants but for all employees.

Speaking at the Living Wage Forum at Dublin Castle, Ms Burton said a move to a Living Wage would result in a 'more fair, more equal Ireland'.

Asked does she think the State could lead by example and pay all State employees the Living Wage, Ms Burton said she would favour that.

“I would certainly like to move to that,” she said.

“I think that is the objective for all employers over time. Clearly in relation to the local authorities they have a particular structure of terms and conditions, so that would be a matter for them to work that out. But yes I would. What we are talking about here is a more fair, more equal Ireland and working really does lift you out of poverty,” she added.

Speaking at the Forum, Ms Burton described nearly €300 million paid in top-up income supplements to low-paid workers as a State subsidy to employers.

She said the living wage was considered to be the level of income deemed necessary to meet basic needs such as housing, food, clothing, transport and healthcare.

Campaigners have argued that a living wage should be set at €11.50 per hour. This is significantly higher than the rate of the legally-binding national minimum wage which will increase to €9.15 per hour from early next year.

Junior Minister Ged Nash, who hosted the Forum, said: “One of my central beliefs is that work should always pay. 

"I doubt there is anyone here who does not support the concept of ensuring that workers earn enough to live on.

"As our economy recovers, I believe this is an opportune time to examine how to introduce a campaign which is aimed at promoting decent pay.” 

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