The Government is committed to the introduction of national minimum hourly wage from April 2000. The legislation to give effect to this commitment is currently being drafted and I intend to introduce it shortly. It is being drafted following consideration of the report of the national minimum wage commission, inter-departmental examination of the costs and methodology and extensive consultations with the social partners.
All employers, including employers in the hairdressing industry to whom the legislation will apply, will be obliged to pay not less than the national minimum hourly wage. As recommended in the final report of the inter-departmental group, I will be proposing that sub-minimum rates will apply in certain defined circumstances. I will be proposing a sub-minimum rate for employees under the age of 18, at 70 per cent of the full rate. In line with the recommendation of the national minimum wage commission I will also be proposing that a sub-minimum rate will apply to trainees undergoing a prescribed course of study or training. The applicable rates will be 75 per cent, 80 per cent and 90 per cent of the full rate in the first, second and third year of study or training respectively, or where the study or training period is less than three years the different rates will apply to each one third of the duration of the study or training.