Monday 11 December 2017

No set date for parties to restore minimum wage level

Anne-Marie Walsh and Shane Hickey

THE new Coalition has promised to reverse the €1-an-hour cut in the minimum wage agreed in the €85bn bailout deal, but has not said when.

It has also promised to maintain the current level of social welfare payments.

Fine Gael and Labour's new Programme for Government does not commit to restore the rate that was slashed to €7.65-an-hour last month by a definite deadline.

Fine Gael last night said it "would like to enact" the reversal within the first 100 days of government.

However, the measure may need IMF and EU approval.

During the election, Fine Gael finance spokesman Brian Hayes said the party would reinstate the minimum rate within a month of entering government. The cut was a lynchpin in the EU-IMF bailout deal.

Vehemently

The drop in rates was generally welcomed by employers but was vehemently opposed by the trade union sector.

The parties said there would also be a major anti-fraud drive in the welfare sector.

Family and child income supports will be examined by the Commission on Taxation and Social Welfare as part of a focus on tax and the welfare system to "ensure that work is worthwhile", according to the document.

In addition, moneylenders and debt collectors face tighter regulation.

In a promise to women in the workplace, the Coalition said at least 40pc of state boards would be made up of females. Transgender people will also have legal recognition under the promises.

Child welfare responsibilities will be removed from the Health Service Executive and transferred to a new body called the Child Welfare and Protection Agency.

Irish Independent

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