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New Low Pay Commission meets for the first time – Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Ministers Bruton and Nash

The new body will report back to Government on the appropriate rate of the National Minimum Wage by mid-July

26th February 2015

The new Low Pay Commission was officially launched today (Thursday) by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Ministers Bruton and Nash.

The independent body is now beginning its work on advising the Government on the appropriate rate of the National Minimum Wage. It is expected to submit its first report to Government by the middle of July. The Low Pay Commission will examine the rate of the minimum wage on an annual basis from now on.

The establishment of this new body was a key commitment in the Statement of Priorities agreed by the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste last year.

The Commissioners will take an evidence based approach to the setting of the minimum wage. They will examine existing data, commission new research if necessary and consult directly with workers and employers in order to decide on what the National Minimum Wage should be.

The chairperson, Dr Donal de Buitléir and eight commissioners (see below) were appointed by the Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD, earlier this month. The Low Pay Commission may also be asked to examine issues relating to low pay as part of their work programme to be agreed and set at the beginning of each year.

Speaking at the launch in St Andrew’s Resource Centre, Pearse St, Dublin, The Taoiseach Enda Kenny said, "This Government will make work pay, as gainful employment is the route out of poverty. We have to break cycles of intergenerational poverty for the good of our society. It is why we have targeted tax reductions at low and middle income earners and lifted 420,000 people out of Fianna Fail’s USC charge.”

“We have committed to continuing this policy of targeted tax reductions for workers in the next budget. Making work pay is also why we are establishing a Low Pay Commission to make annual recommendations on the minimum wage. To protect existing jobs, I will also ask Government to look at measures to mitigate the impact any changes could have on small employers."

The Tánaiste Joan Burton TD said, “The Low Pay Commission represents the next step in the Government prioritising work and fairness as the economic recovery takes hold. Having a job is the best protector against poverty, and fair wages and conditions are essential to that.”

“My goal is to ensure a social, as well as an economic recovery, led by real growth in people’s wages. With the Commission, we push pay outside the realm of party politics and ensure that issues around low pay stay front and centre in public debate, and are never allowed to drift off the agenda.”

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said, “The reason that employment is at the heart of everything we do as a Government is that job-creation is the best way of improving lives and communities right across the country. We want to see – and we are seeing – good sustainable, well-paying jobs being created, pumping pay-packets into towns and villages and allowing us to improve services across the country. The Low Pay Commission is a sound, evidence-based method of taking the politics out of setting the minimum wage, and ensuring that job-creation and competitiveness are taken into account in the process. I wish Donal and his team every success”.

Minister Nash said, “Work should always pay and I want to ensure that those on the lowest wages in society are given the opportunity to share in the economic recovery that is beginning to take hold. The Low Pay Commission will take an independent and evidence based view of what any new minimum wage should be.”

"The establishment of this new statutory body is one of the most important policy initiatives taken by any Government in recent years and is evidence of this Government’s commitment to making dignity at work a reality."

The Low Pay Commission is to hold its first meeting in St Andrew’s Resource Centre after the official launch. It will be addressed by David Norgrove, chairperson of the UK Low Pay Commission.

ENDS

For more information contact:

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: press.office@djei.ie or Ph: 01-631 2200

Deirdre Grant, Press Advisor to Minister Nash – M: 086-048 4279

Editors’ Notes:

The membership of the Low Pay Commission is:

Dr Donal de Buitléir Chairperson Director of PublicPolicy.ie

Vincent Jennings Chief Executive Officer, Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association

Patricia King Vice President, SIPTU, incoming General Secretary of ICTU

Gerry Light Assistant General Secretary, Mandate Trade Union

Caroline McEnery Director, HR Suite; HR & Business Solutions

Edel McGinley Director, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland

Mary Mosse Lecturer in Economics, Programme Director for Postgraduate Research, WIT Business School

Tom Noonan Chief Executive, The Maxol Group, President of IBEC (2008–2010)

Prof Donal O’Neill Dept. of Economics, NUI, Maynooth

The Commissioners will examine a range of issues in considering the appropriate rate of the National Minimum Wage, including:

  • the changes in earnings since the minimum wage was last increased in 2011
  • the unemployment and employment rates generally
  • the expected impact of a change to the minimum wage on employment, the cost of living and national competitiveness
  • changes in income distribution and
  • currency exchange rates

 

The current rate of the National Minimum Wage is €8.65. It has remained at that rate since 2007, except for a period in 2011 when it was cut by €1 by the previous Government. The current Government reversed that cut in July 2011.