Living wage to remain unchanged at €12.30 for coming year

The Living Wage rate is to remain unchanged at €12.30 per hour for the coming year, following fresh calculations.

The change to the rate is determined by the fluctuation of living costs and taxation.

It is calculated by the Living Wage Technical Group (LWTG), which is made up of researchers and academics from St Vincent de Paul, the Nevin Economic Research Institute, SIPTU, Social Justice Ireland, TASC, Unite and is conducted by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (VPSJ).

The group says a 4% drop in average minimum essential costs since last year has been offset by a 7.5% increase in housing costs on average.

“In principle, a Living Wage is intended to establish an hourly wage rate that should provide employees with sufficient income to achieve an agreed acceptable minimum standard of living,” said Robert Thornton, VPSJ Senior Research and Policy Officer.

“In that sense it is an income floor; representing a figure which allows employees afford the essentials of life.”

“Earnings below the Living Wage suggest employees are forced to do without certain essentials so they can make ends-meet”.

Another member of the Living Wage Technical Group, Dr Micheál Collins, said the pandemic has highlighted how heavily we rely on low paid workers to keep the country moving.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Collins, who is an Assistant Professor of Social Policy at UCD, said that one in five workers are low paid.

Dr Collins said a number of employers have voluntarily adopted a living wage and some paid more on top of this during the earlier lockdown to acknowledge the work done by many low paid workers.

He said the matter needs leadership and the Programme for Government has committed to increasing low pay.

The Living Wage rate for Ireland was first calculated in 2014 at €11.45 an hour.

It is a recommended wage for what the authors deem to be an acceptable standard of living.

While not legally binding, a number of employers have committed to paying it.

It says if the cost of renting had remained at last year’s levels, then the rate would have fallen to €11.90 for 2020/21.

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