It is important that the nature of Ireland’s statutory National Minimum Wage and the Living Wage concept, recently set at €12.30 by the Living Wage Technical Group, are clearly understood. As the Deputy will be aware, the Living Wage has no legislative basis and is therefore not a statutory entitlement. The National Minimum Wage is a statutory entitlement and has a legislative basis. The Low Pay Commission annually assesses the appropriate level of the National Minimum Wage. The current national minimum hourly rate of pay, since 1 January 2019, is €9.80 per hour, as set out in the National Minimum Wage Order 2018.
The suggested Living Wage of €12.30 per hour based on the Civil Service 37 hour standard net working week equates to an annual salary of €23,747.
None of the staff in my Department earn less than the National Minimum Wage. There are 12 Clerical Officers in my Department on the first point of the Clerical Officer PPC pay scale earning less than €23,747 per annum. The annual cost of implementing the Living Wage in the Department, calculated on a 37 hour standard net working week, at this point in time would be €2,100. It should be noted that the annual salaries of these staff will exceed €23,747 when they move on to the second point of the pay scale.
As the Deputy will be aware, pay increases within the Public Service are set through collective agreement. Pay increases under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 set out increases up to 2020 but not beyond this date. They included 1% in October 2018; 1% for those earning under €30,000 in January 2019; 1.75% in September 2019; and 2% in October 2020.