Business Irish

Saturday 23 March 2019

Minimum wage rate rises tomorrow

Leah McLennan

MINIMUM wage earners are set to see an increase in their pay packets from tomorrow, when the new base wage becomes effective in Ireland.

The minimum wage will rise from the current €8.30 to €8.65 per hour, giving wage earners a 35c-an-hour increase.

The wage change follows closely on the last minimum wage adjustment, which took place in January this year. Overall, it is the sixth increase to the national minimum wage since it was first introduced seven years ago and represents an increase of 66pc since 2000.

The Minister for Labour Affairs, Billy Kelleher, launched the increased wage yesterday, saying: "This increase will clearly benefit low-paid workers in society, in particular part-time and younger workers."

But business lobby group ISME criticised the move, saying that it will negatively affect many small businesses in Ireland.

"This increase will impact heavily on small businesses that are struggling to maintain a competitive position in an already high-cost, high-wage economy. Production cost is already creating pressure, increasing by 10pc per annum," said Jim Curran, head of research at ISME.

"The minimum wage at the current level will further distort competition by imposing a raised artificial floor on wages and by creating a knock-on effect, as higher-paid employees use it as a benchmark from which to negotiate larger wage increases," said Mark Fielding, chief executive of ISME. Ireland's minimum wage is the second highest in Europe, falling just behind Luxembourg. The UK has the third-highest minimum wage.

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