Employees on the Minimum Wage in the Republic of Ireland

This paper updates the profile of earnings and minimum wage workers released in July 2015 (Collins, 2015). Based on an analysis of hourly earnings data for 2014, this 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. The data also allows an examination of the household/family circumstances of workers on the Minimum Wage.

Of the approximate 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, work less than 20 hours per week, work 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.

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.

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