Ireland raises minimum wage despite opposition

Ireland’s minimum wage increased by 10.2 per cent to 7 euros (£4.80) this
month, amid opposition from some employers’ groups.

The new rate, agreed under the joint employer-union social partnership
agreement, makes the minimum wage in Ireland the third highest in Europe.

The director of the Irish Small Firms Association (SFA), Pat Delaney, said:
"We now have a situation where the minimum rate here is 25 per cent higher
than that which operates in the US, Canada, Japan and Germany.

"In a recent survey, just over one-quarter of SFA-member firms told us
that the minimum wage was a major problem for their business.

"These firms are vulnerable to payroll costs, which at between 30 per
cent and 40 per cent, make up a significant element of overall costs," he
said.

The new Irish rates, applicable to nearly all employees over 18, is slightly
less than Luxembourg and the Netherlands. But it is more than double the
official minimum rates in Spain and Portugal, and nearly five times the rates
in new members of the European Union, such as Hungary.

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