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Low Pay Commission

Enterprise Minister Burke receives recommendation to abolish sub-minimum wages for teenagers

The current minimum wage is €12.70 per hour but the law allows for lower rates for those aged under 20.

THE LOW PAY Commission has recommended that sub-minimum wages for teenage workers be abolished by 1 January next year.

The Commission, an independent statutory body tasked with making recommendations to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Peter Burke on the National Minimum Wage, as well as other issues relating to minimum wages, delivered its recommendations today.

The current minimum wage is €12.70 per hour but the National Minimum Wage Acts allow for lower (sub-minimum) rates for those aged under 20.

The minimum wage for those aged 19 is 90% of the current rate, for those aged 18 it is 80% and for those aged 17 and under it is 70%. 

Today’s recommendations are for sub-minimum wages to be abolished for each of those age groups.

Alongside those recommendations, the Commission also said that after these rates have been abolished for two years, a study should be conducted to evaluate if there have been “adverse consequences”, in particular for those aged under 18.

“Should a significant adverse outcome be identified, the study should review the full range of policy options available to Government,” the report said.

It said a subsequent follow-up study should be commissioned four or more years later as well.

It further recommended that consideration is given to how employers with “a substantial proportion of young workers in receipt of sub-minimum wages” can be supported during and after the abolition, if the Department does in fact follow through with its proposal.

Responding to the report, Minister Burke thanks the Low Pay Commission for its “considerable work” and said “this is an important and complex issue that will require detailed examination by Government”.  

He said his department would now commission an economic impact assessment and seek legal advice regarding recommendations, adding that a decision would be made “in due course”. 

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