Over the past decade the concept of a living wage has gained added attention across the developed world. In principle, a living wage is intended to establish an hourly wage rate that should provide employees with sufficient income to achieve an agreed acceptable minimum standard of living. In that sense it is an income floor; representing a figure that allows employees afford the essentials of life.
This paper acts as a contribution to the debate on the emergence of a living wage in the Republic of Ireland. At the core of any such debate will be considerations on how a figure for a living wage can be calculated in a transparent (yet technical) and sustainable way. This paper adds to these considerations and points towards a number of issues which need to be addressed, and agreed upon, as part of establishing a figure.
Over the course of the next few months, this research, combined with contributions from others, should fuel a welcome discussion around establishing a method and hourly living wage amount. Once established and agreed, the implementation of a living wage offers significant potential to enhance the living standards of low income workers and their families.