More than three quarters of public support setting living wage as the country's minimum wage level, poll shows


An opinion poll shows that over three-quarters of the Irish public support setting the Living Wage as the country’s Minimum Wage level.

The poll was conducted in June amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,000 people aged 16 years and over by market research company, Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of the independent, progressive Think tank, TASC.

 The key findings in the poll in relation to wages and workers’ contracts are as follows:

  • 86% agree that the Minimum Wage should be increased – this is up from 84% last year and 65% in 2010;
  • 77% agree that the Minimum Wage should be the same as a Living Wage;
  • 86% agree that the Government should do more to prevent the use of low-hours contracts.

Responding to the poll findings, TASC’s Policy Analyst, Cormac Staunton, said: “It’s clear from the Behaviour & Attitudes Poll that there is very strong public support for raising the Minimum Wage – currently set at €8.65 per hour – and indeed setting it at a Living Wage level, which has just this week been calculated as €11.50 per hour. This should certainly assist the Government in acting decisively on the report of the Low Pay Commission when it reports in the coming weeks.”

Cormac Staunton explained that the Living Wage is an hourly wage rate that should provide full-time employees with sufficient income to achieve a minimum acceptable standard of living — those who earn below the Living Wage are forced to do without certain essentials just to make ends meet. The Living Wage is calculated based on budget standards research.

Mr Staunton said that Ireland has one of the highest rates of low pay in the EU and the OECD – low paid workers are those who earn less than two-thirds of median earnings for full-time workers.

“Ireland has the third highest incidence of low pay in the OECD with more than than one in five workers officially classified as being on low pay. Unfortunately the incidence of low pay in Ireland is rising steadily and more quickly than our international counterparts. This is not related to the economic collapse as the number of workers experiencing low pay has been increasing since 2003. 

“Minimum Wages can play an important role in reducing inequality and in supporting the wages of low-paid workers which is why the work of the Low Pay Commission is so important. In order to be effective, the Minimum Wage must be close to a Living Wage – which is now calculated to be €11.50 per hour.

“TASC also recommends that the Minimum Wage be tracked against median earnings and the cost of living. In this context, in our submission, we urged the Low Pay Commission to find ways to bring the Minimum Wage into line with the calculated Living Wage over the course of a number of years.”

Finally, in relation to low hours contracts, Cormac Staunton said that the Behaviour & Attitudes poll shows that there is overwhelming public support for the Government in tackling this problem. 

B&A survey findings in detail.


Pat Montague, Montague Communications, 087-2549123



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