The Minister of State with Responsibility for Business and Employment has urged businesses to get involved in a one-day forum on the Living Wage, due to be held next month in Dublin Castle.

The Living Wage is based on the concept of providing an adequate income for employees to meet minimum acceptable standards of living.

A Living Wage Technical Group was set up in March 2014 to calculate a living wage in Ireland - it recommends a rate for 2015 of €11.50 an hour.

The Nevin Economic Research Institute says about a quarter of the Irish work force earn less than this - these are mainly female workers and younger workers in the retail, hotel and security sectors.

Minister Ged Nash is hosting the forum to discuss a campaign on the living wage.

Unlike the statutory minimum wage, the Living Wage is a voluntary initiative and Minister Nash said he does not intend to insist that the living wage become the minimum wage.

Employers’ group Ibec said the Living Wage is an unrealistic proposition for most companies and the focus should be on job creation.

SIPTU has stated its support for the announcement by Minister Nash.

SIPTU Division Organiser John King said: "SIPTU supports the decision to hold this forum for employers, trade unions, workers, civil society groups and other interested parties to discuss how a Living Wage can be introduced in more workplaces in Ireland.

"Our union has long been an advocate of the Living Wage campaign. We believe that the payment of a Living Wage to workers is one of the best ways of ensuring that people throughout society benefit from the improving economy and can play their full role in it."