A Profile of those 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 a number of occasions before reaching €8.65 in July 2007. In February 2011 the rate was reduced to €7.65 and subsequently restored to its current level (€8.65) in July 2011. The recently established Low Pay Commission is considering the appropriateness of a further revision to the rate and is due to report to Government in July 2015.

Based on an analysis of hourly earnings data, 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 (full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary etc). The data also allows an examination of the household/family circumstances of workers 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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