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Dublin: 5°C Sunday 7 March 2021

Do you earn enough for a minimum standard of living?

The threshold has just gone up.

Image: Niall Carson

THE MINIMUM AMOUNT that a person in Ireland should earn to achieve an acceptable standard of living has risen to €11.50 an hour.

The rise was calculated by the Living Wage Technical Group, established to calculate the minimum income necessary to have a decent standard of living in Ireland. It is based on a 40-hour week.

The new figure represents an increase of 5c per hour over the 2014 rate and is almost €3 an hour higher than the minimum wage. The increase has been driven by changes in the cost of living and changes in the taxation system over the past year.

The concept of a living wage in Ireland was established in 2014 and is part of a set of similar figures which reflect a belief across societies that individuals working full-time should be able to earn enough income to enjoy a decent standard of living.

Dr Bernadette MacMahon, a member of the technical group, said that the calculation is “evidence based and built on budget standards research”.

“During the past year reductions in the cost of health insurance, lower transport costs, cheaper energy costs and falling food prices all put downward pressure on the living wage.

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“The reduction in the USC in the last Budget had a similar effect. However, these effects were overshadowed by increases in housing costs, more expensive household goods and services and higher car insurance. Rising rents, in particular in Dublin, were the main driver of the hourly increase.”

Those earning a living wage can afford housing, clothing, food, healthcare, education, transport and recreation.

In Ireland, around 83,000 people are estimated to earn the minimum wage.

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