Over 120,000 workers in Ireland earn the minimum wage or less 2 months ago

Over 120,000 workers in Ireland earn the minimum wage or less

The figures apply to the last quarter of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic began to impact significantly on the economy in Ireland.

122,800 employees in Ireland earned the national minimum wage of €9.80 per hour or less in the final quarter of 2019, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The figure represents 6.4% of all employees for whom earnings were reported and marks a decrease of 1.2% from the 7.6% of employees earning the minimum wage or less from the previous year.

The number of employees who reported having earned more than the national minimum wage was 1,787,400, an increase of 6.4% or 107,800 from the previous year, according to Labour Force Survey National Minimum Wage Estimates released by the CSO on Wednesday.

As of 1 February this year, the minimum wage increased to €10.10 per hour following a recommendation by the Low Pay Commission last October.

The figure is €2.10 per hour short of the Living Wage of €12.30 per hour recommended by The Living Wage Technical Group, who claim such a wage makes possible a minimum acceptable standard of living in Ireland.

The figures in the report apply to the last quarter of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic began to impact on the Irish economy.

Earlier this month, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe admitted that Ireland is in the grip of a serious recession as a result and that government projections for this year were for a 22% unemployment rate (more than one in five people), as well as a deficit of €23 billion.

The previous all-time high for Irish unemployment was around 17.3% in 1985. It climbed as high as 16% in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

As of Monday (27 April), 591,000 people received the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, approximately 21,000 of whom were receiving the payment for the first time.