Minimum Wage in Ireland – Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a separate legislation relating to minimum wages in Ireland?

Yes there is a separate legislation relating to minimum wages in Ireland. This Act may be cited as the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000.

On what basis is minimum wage calculated?

The legislation provides the rate of the national minimum wage calculated per hour.

In case of weekly/monthly minimum age, are they based on any fixed number of hours?

Minimum Wage per hour is calculated on the basis of a 39-hours per week (169 hours per month).

Are governmental bodies, employer and/or trade union representatives involved in minimum wage setting?

Government decides after tripartite or bipartite body discussions/recommendations. The national minimum wage rate is set in an Order by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Adjustment of this rate follows either: •- a national economic agreement among economic and social interests in the State which includes a recommendation concerning the national minimum hourly rate of pay for employees for the duration of the agreement. The Minister may accept, reject or vary this recommendation. In the case of a rejection or variation of the recommendation, the Minister must state the reasons for not accepting the recommendation to the Parliament ; or - any organisation(s) representing employers’ and /or employees’ interests requesting that the Labour Court examine the national minimum hourly rate of pay and make a recommendation to the Minister based on its findings. An examination of the national minimum wage rate by the Labour Court must include consultation with representatives of employees and employers in the private and public sector of the economy. If agreement is reached between the parties as to the appropriate hourly rate of pay of employees, that rate is recommended to the Minister. If no agreement is reached, the Labour Court may still make a recommendation concerning the hourly rate of pay, based on certain factors.

How are upratings (adjustments) of minimum wage/s decided upon?

Government decides after tripartite or bipartite body discussions/recommendations.

What is/are the yardstick/s on which minimum wage upratings are based?

1) Level of wages and incomes in the country: If no agreement between employers and employees representatives has been reached, the Labour Court when making a recommendation to the Minister concerning the minimum wage rate has to take the movement of earnings since the last minimum rate of pay into account. 2) Economic development : The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment must consider the overall economic conditions in the State when setting the national minimum hourly rate of pay. 3) Level of employment: The Labour Court must consider the likely impact that a recommendation made would have on the level of unemployment and employment and whether they are increasing or decreasing. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment must consider the impact the proposed national minimum hourly rate of pay may have on employment. 4) Inflation rate: The Labour Court must consider the likely impact that a recommendation made would have on inflation in the economy. 5) Other provisions: When setting the national minimum hourly rate of pay, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment must consider national competitiveness.

If no agreement between employers and employees representatives has been reached, the Labour Court when making a recommendation to the Minister has to take the relevant exchange rate movement and national competitiveness into account.

What is National Poverty line?

Click here to know the national poverty line in context with Minimum Wage, living wages and actual wages. Select the currency (Euro or national currency) to know national poverty line.

How is minimum wages compliance regulated?

Labour Inspectors also ensures that the provisions of the Act are adhered to and may enter work-places to make the necessary inquiries and examination.

Which legal sanctions can be applied in compliance is lacking?

An employer who refuses or fails to pay an employee the minimum hourly rate of pay is guilty of an offence. A person found guilty of an offence under the National Minimum Wage Act is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,500 (EUR 1,900) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both. Conviction on indictment results in liability of up to £10,000 (EUR 12,700) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both.

To whom/Where can individuals complain, if they think they are earning less than minimum wage?

In case of non compliance, an individual can complain to Labour Inspector.

Which month of the year is minimum wage rate revised in Ireland?

The legislation states that the Minister should review minimum rates of pay from time to time. No date is specified.