The Tánaiste recently published the National Minimum Wage Bill, 2000, which delivers on the Government's commitment to introduce a national minimum hourly rate of pay. Subject to the passage of the Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas, the Tánaiste will set the initial rate of the national minimum hourly rate of pay at £4.40 from 1 April 2000.
In the recently negotiated draft national agreement to succeed Partnership 2000, the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, the social partners agreed to recommend to the Government that the national minimum hourly rate of pay be adjusted to £4.70 from 1 July 2001, and £5 from 1 October 2002.
Section 12 of the National Minimum Wage Bill, 2000, permits the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to review the national minimum hourly rate of pay. Where there is in existence or proposed a national agreement which contains a recommendation in relation to the national minimum hourly rate of pay to apply for the duration of the national agreement, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment must accept, vary or reject the recommendation within three months of being advised of the recommendation. The Deputy can take it we will not ignore the recommendations of the social partners. I commend all those involved in the talks in bringing about a successful outcome to this issue.