It is important that Ireland’s statutory National Minimum Wage and the Living Wage concept are not confused. The Living Wage has no legislative basis and is therefore not a statutory entitlement. It currently stands at €12.30 per hour according to the Living Wage Technical Group document 2020.
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 February 2020, is €10.10 per hour, as set out in the National Minimum Wage Order 2020.
The actual number of employees working in the public sector with salaries below the living wage would require individual level data on the position of staff on each salary scale across the public service and details of the standard working hours per week for each individual grade. This data is not available to the Department.
However, an analysis of the most recently available (Q2 2020) pay band data indicates that some 97% of all public service staff are on salary points in excess of €25,000 per annum. The suggested wage at €12.30 per hour based on the Civil Service 37 hour standard net working week equates to an annual salary of €23,747.
More detailed data on Civil Service staff indicates that only some 0.2% of staff (FTE) in the Civil Service are on salary points less than €23,747. Further to this, all civil servants are paid at rates above the minimum wage of €10.10 per hour.
Any of those currently on an annual salary of less than €23,747 may be receiving remuneration in excess of the suggested living wage through additional premium payments in respect of shift or atypical working hours or are on salary scales that progress to the suggested living wage and above through incremental progression.
Pay increases within the public service are set through collective agreement. Pay increases under the Public Services Stability Agreement 2018-2020 include: 1% January 2018; 1% October 2018; 1% for those earning under €30,000 January 2019; 1.75% September 2019; 0.5% for those earning under €32,000 and 2% October 2020. These annualised pay increases, which have been banded in favour of those earning under €32,000, have reduced the cohort earning less than the suggested living wage.