- Hundreds of thousands of low paid workers in Ireland would benefit from a Living Wage.
- Labour proposal would be phased in over three years.
Labour Laois representative Eoin Barry has called on government to support Labour’s Living Wage Bill 2022 which was introduced in the Dáil this week (Wednesday, May 11th). Mr Barry said it would deliver a much-needed pay rise for workers in Laois, and deliver on the long delayed commitment in the Programme for Government.
Mr Barry said:
“With the cost of living soaring and inflation at a 22-year high, Ireland needs a pay rise. The purpose of Labour’s bill is to amend the National Minimum Wage Acts to provide for a pathway to a living wage over three years and we are calling for immediate government action to deliver on this Labour Party bill.
“A living wage provides for needs, not wants, and is defined as the hourly rate of pay that makes possible a minimum acceptable standard of living, is evidence based, and grounded in social consensus.
“At present the minimum wage is set at €10.50 after the most recent 30 cent increase in January but it is not based on the cost of living.
“The living wage for 2021 was determined at a rate of €12.90 per hour. That is a €2.40 per hour wage gap that would make a real difference to the lives of so many people in XX.
“As recently as 2018 one in five workers were categorised as low paid, earning just below €11.90 per hour, or about 380,000 people. Transforming the minimum wage into a Living wage will also list the wages of many other workers.
“Our Bill would transform the low pay commission into a living wage commission and assign it new duties to enable it to make recommendations. The Bill provides a definition of a living wage, meaning an annual wage that, in the opinion of the commission, if paid to a single adult person living alone and in full-time employment would afford that person a standard of living that meets the person’s needs at a minimum but socially acceptable level.
“Only by changing the remit of the Low Pay Commission can we begin the work of implementing a living wage.
“People in Laois are having to cope with an unprecedented spike in the cost of living, a spike that is affecting every household, individual, family and community across Ireland. The costs of fuel, rent, housing, food, childcare and basic services are rising. Even the price of basic items like bread and milk are rising.
“All of us are hearing daily from constituents in Laois who are feeling a real squeeze and whose incomes are no longer enough to meet the rising cost of living that they face.
“Ireland needs a pay rise, and we need to start with those on the minimum wage by transforming it into a Living Wage.”