Thursday 30 March 2017

Lifting the minimum wage is gesture politics, paid for by employers

University of Limerick economist Stephen Kinsella
University of Limerick economist Stephen Kinsella
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

On the face of it, things like raising the minimum wage are what Labour is in Government to do. But a 50-cent "hike" for employees is gesture politics. Nice to have but hardly meaningful. If you're working an eight-hour shift, with say an hour for lunch, the 6pc increase means an extra €3.50 in gross pay at the end of the day.

An employer, however, may beg to differ. Across a number of staff, that 50-cent increase will add up and potentially affect margins.

So is the hike affordable and justifiable? Businesses cry poverty and say no way; trade unions argue it doesn't go far enough.

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