[Ireland] Proportion Of Minimum Wage Workers Among Highest In The EU

11 JUN 2020

Ireland is an EU country with among the highest proportions of people on the minimum wage, according to research from Brussels, The Times reports.

Irish minimum-wage earners benefit from the third-highest rate in Europe - €10.10 an hour - but only six member states (primarily in Eastern Europe) have a higher proportion of workers earning at that level, according to research published by Eurofound, the EU agency for the improvement of working and living conditions.

Women are a significantly higher proportion of the minimum wage workforce than of the wider labour force. According to the National Women’s Council of Ireland, women make up 46 per cent of the labour force yet Eurofound revealed they are 54.5 per cent of Ireland’s minimum wage earners.

On average, 5 per cent of female workers and 4 per cent of male workers were employed on minimum wage rates across the EU in 2017. In Ireland, 6 per cent of women and 5 per cent of men earn the minimum wage.

Eurofound reportedly said that the high cost of living in countries like Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg offset some advantages of their comparatively higher minimum-wage rates.

For example, nominal minimum wages rates were 58 per cent higher in Ireland than in Spain but when local price levels are factored in the difference in the effective purchasing power of the rate was just 14 per cent.

Eurofound reported that most EU countries increased statutory minimum wages for 2020.

Christine Aumayr-Pintar - Eurofound’s senior research manager - said, “The report’s findings suggest that increases in the relative level of minimum wages within a country on its own may not be sufficient to decrease the share of workers who report that they find it difficult or very difficult to make ends meet. It’s the level of minimum wages and what they can buy that matters more.”

At present governments across the EU are using income stabilisation measures for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eurofound said minimum wages could “have an additional role in the policy mix to stabilise incomes and thus counteract a downward spiral into recession or depression”.

Source: The Times


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