70,000 workers are on the Minimum Wage

A new NERI research paper estimates the number of workers on the minimum wage and further profiles these workers by gender, by the sector they work in and by their employment status (full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary etc). The data, which is for 2014 (the latest available), complements an earlier paper examining the situation in 2013.

The key findings from the paper are:

There are approximately 70,000 workers on the minimum wage

Most are women (73%)

Most are aged in their 20s and 30s and large proportions of these employees work in sectors such as accommodation and food and wholesale and retail.

Relative to employees in general, minimum wage workers are more likely to be:

on temporary contracts,

working less than 20 hours per week,

working part-time and

be in the private sector.

Overall, those on the minimum wage represent 5% of all employees, with 34,000 working full-time on the minimum wage.

A Minimum Wage of €5.58 per hour (IR£4.40) was introduced for experienced adult workers in Ireland under the National Minimum Wage Act 2000. Since then the rate has changed on nine occasions before reaching €9.15 in January 2016. The Low Pay Commission is considering the appropriateness of a further revision to the rate.

Establishing a profile of the lowest paid workers in society facilitates a better understanding of the labour market and the socio-economic context of current considerations of changes to the minimum wage.

The reference to the paper is:

Collins, M.L. (2016), ‘Employees on the Minimum Wage in the Republic of Ireland’ NERI Working Paper, 2016/ No. 37. Dublin, The Nevin Economic Research Institute.

The research paper is available here

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Micheál Collins