Almost every worker in Ireland is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), and some employers also offer the higher rate Living Wage. In this article, you’ll learn what the minimum wage is, how it’s decided and how minimum wage affects workers depending on their age.
The NMW is the minimum wage per hour a worker is entitled to earn in Ireland by law. The minimum wage you receive depends on your age and the sector you work in.
The hourly rate a worker receives is determined by both their age and whether or not that worker is an apprentice. You’re only entitled to the NMW if you’re of school leaving age, which is 16.
The government sets the minimum wage rates, applying them to all employees. This includes those who work full-time, part-time, in a small start-up business and those completing essential training for their job. As of January 2024, the rates for national minimum wage:
|Hourly minimum wage
|% of minimum wage
|20 and over
The government usually increases the minimum wage rates in January each year (the last increase was in January 2024), but you can also expect an increase when you turn 18, 19 or 20.
In January 2024, the government increased minimum wage by €1.40 an hour on the 2023 rate of €11.30, taking it to €12.70, meaning someone on the minimum wage who works a 39 hour week will earn an additional €54.60 per week in 2024. This increase is substantially higher than the 7.6% increase recommended by the commission and adopted in 2023 which took the minimum wage from €10.50 to €11.30 on 1 January 2023.
Yes, you might still be taxed on your income even if you earn minimum wage, with different thresholds applicable based on how much you earn and whether you are single, married or in a civil partnership, or are widowed or a surviving civil partner.
It’s worth noting that some parts of your pay don’t count towards your minimum wage. This includes tips, overtime payments, a loan from your employer and a pay advance. Commission, on the other hand, is included. An employer can take certain deductions from your pay, but only for things such as tax, pension payments, trade union fees and any charges for accommodation they provide. An employer cannot use the cost of tools, uniforms, travel or training courses to reduce your pay.
A varying scale of minimum wage exists so that more people of various ages and experience levels can find employment. This was put in place by the government in light of evidence that younger workers were being priced out of jobs.
While younger workers usually receive lower wages than older workers, a couple of reasons for that might be because they often lack the experience and have a higher training cost than older and more experienced employees. Overall, the aim of minimum wage is to ensure a higher percentage of employment for younger people.
The Living Wage is a guide, rather than a law, that employers can follow. The aim is to give all employees an income that reflects minimum living costs, which some people argue that minimum wage doesn’t do. The Living Wage is increased each year to reflect changes in the cost of living.
If you then find you’re able to save some of your wages, you could consider opening a savings account that would allow you to plan for your future. To quickly and easily open savings accounts online, consider using our marketplace. Register for a Raisin Account, deposit your savings for free, and watch them grow.