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Ireland’s minimum wage is second-highest in the European Union

Ireland has the second-highest minimum wage across the EU, at €1,724 per month, according to Eurofound.

Luxembourg has the highest, at €2,202, the Dublin-based EU agency said in a new survey.

Ireland’s minimum wage was raised to €10.20 an hour from January this year for people aged 20 and over.

The rate here is recommended by the Low Pay Commission to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

“Decision-makers on minimum wages were faced with determining the 2021 level of minimum wages in the context of challenging economic conditions, downward pressure on wages due to higher unemployment, and great uncertainty about the economic projections for the months ahead,” said Christine Aumayr-Pintar, senior research manager with Eurofound.

“The dilemma for decision-makers – how to keep the purchasing power of the lowest paid high and ensure the adequacy of their pay, while safeguarding jobs and businesses – is not a new one, but was aggravated and made more urgent during the [Covid] crisis,” she added.

The Eurofound study noted that some of the highest nominal increases in minimum wages during the past 12 months were recorded in counties where governments had made earlier commitments through legislation or pre-election promises, or where a pathway had been agreed in previous years with social partners.

A 16.3pc increase in Latvia, where the minimum wage is now €500 a month, had been negotiated in 2017.

Bulgaria has the lowest minimum wage amongst members, at €332 a month.

While no longer an EU member, the UK’s minimum wage stood at €1,765 a month in January, just slightly higher than that in Ireland.

In Germany, it’s €1,610 a month, while in The Netherlands, it’s €1,685.

Since 2016, the minimum wage in Ireland has risen from €8.65 an hour to its current level.

Officials from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions walked out of the Low Pay Commission last year in protest at the proposed 10 cent increase.

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