A living wage for Ireland – €11.45 per hour

The Living Wage Technical Group has calculated the 2014 living wage for the Republic of Ireland at €11.45 per hour. The group plans to update the Living Wage on an annual basis. 

The Living Wage Technical Group is supported by trade unions Siptu and Unite, as well as the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI), TASC, Social Justice Ireland and the Vincentian Partnership.

Dr Seán Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland commented, “One in every six adults living in poverty in Ireland has a job. It is time Ireland recognised this reality and moved to ensure that every adult with a job earns at least the equivalent of a living wage”. 

Dr Micheál Collins, senior researcher with NERI commented ‘’The Republic of Ireland Living Wage adds to a growing international set of similar figures. The attention given to this issue underscores a growing appreciation for society to consider low wage rates not just in the context of competitiveness and competition but also in the context of income adequacy and living standards’’. 

Dr Nat O’Connor, Director of TASC said “In common with countries around the world, promoting a Living Wage is an important step in tackling economic inequality in Ireland. Full-time employment is an important response to economic inequality, but there is a growing split in Ireland between those with good jobs and those in insecure, part-time or low paid employment. The calculation of a Living Wage is an evidence-based reminder of what constitutes a decent level of pay. It is also a reminder that part-time or low paid work can perpetuate inequality.” 

SIPTU Economist Marie Sherlock said that “this work represents a very important starting point in the battle to improve the living standards of low paid workers across this State. It follows on from efforts made in the UK and the US and elsewhere to calculate a minimum acceptable standard of living for workers and casts a sharp light on the significant gap between wage rates prevailing in certain low paid sectors of the Irish economy and the national minimum wage. The challenge now is to implement these wage rates and through the system of Joint Labour Committees, SIPTU will be working to improve the terms and conditions of an estimated 166,000 low paid workers, some 9% of those in employment across the State.’’ 

A dedicated website has been established – http://www.livingwage.ie/ – which includes a technical document detailing how the Living Wage has been calculated and will be updated in future years.