Inquiry sought on why so many women paid minimum wage

That most of those paid national minimum wage are women is well-known, says Ged Nash

Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash  said it was well-known  the vast majority of those who were paid the national minimum wage were women. File photograph: Getty Images

Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash said it was well-known the vast majority of those who were paid the national minimum wage were women. File photograph: Getty Images

 

The Government has asked the Low Pay Commission to investigate why so many women are paid only the national minimum wage.

Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash has also tasked the commission with looking at the appropriateness of lower rates – below the level of the national minimum wage – which employers can pay to young people.

Mr Nash said it was well-known that the vast majority of those who were paid the national minimum wage were women.

“Given the preponderance of women in low-paid jobs, I have asked the Low Pay Commission to help us come to a better understanding of why this is so and what might be the underlying reasons for it,” he said.

“I have also requested that they make any recommendations they consider appropriate to address this by October 2016.”

The Minster said he had also asked the commission, chaired by Dr Donál de Buitléir, to examine the impact of the lower “sub-minima” rates payable to young people on levels of youth unemployment and on participation in education.

Training

The commission has been asked to report on this issue by the end of next February.

At present, workers under 18 or those in their first or second year of work may be paid a lower hourly rate of pay than that set out under the national minimum wage.

Those on certain training courses may also receive lower rates of pay.

The national minimum wage is currently set at €8.65 per hour for an experienced adult worker.

This will increase to €9.15 in January.

For a young person under age 18, the current minimum rate is €6.06 per hour, although this will rise to €6.41 - or 70 per cent of the national minimum wage rate - in January.

For those over 18 in the first year of their first employment, the minimum rate payable is €6.92.

This will increase to €7.32 per hour in January, or 80 per cent of the national minimum wage rate.

Impact

For those aged over 18 in the second year of their first job, the minimum rate payable is €7.79.

This will rise to €8.24 in January, or 90 per cent of the national minimum wage.

“I want to have a better understanding of the impact of the national minimum wage on younger people, particularly those who may not be in employment or education,” said Mr Nash.

“I think it is also timely that we examine if these lower rates of the minimum wage that apply to young people and those undergoing a structured training programme are appropriate in the modern day.”

The Low Pay Commission was established by the Government last year to advise it regularly on the appropriate rate for the national minimum wage as well as on other related matters.