The next government must prioritise ensuring workers get a living wage as part of a campaign to eliminate poverty among those in work, according to a new report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
However, the Report on Low Pay, Decent Work and a Living Wage cautions that the committee does not favour measures that could cause job losses or business closures.
The report, authored by Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane, states that around 400,000 workers - or 30% of the workforce - are on low pay with insufficient income to live on.
Low-paid workers should be paid a living wage of €11.50 per hour, the report said.
It said that Ireland has the third highest rate of low paid workers in the EU.
The report lists 28 recommendations which the committee hopes will lead the way to halving in work poverty during the term of the next government.
The committee also calls for investment in public services such as childcare and ensuring rent certainty to help low paid workers.
It also calls for additional investment in training and upskilling for low wage workers.
Committee member Peadar Toibín said it was important that the burden of introducing the living wage had to be shared between employers and the State itself, saying that if the State stepped up the provision of services, the burden would not be so high on the employer.
Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary said it was not sustainable to have a welfare system where people could lose out by taking a job.
However, the employers group IBEC described the report as unbalanced, adding that it failed to reflect the very damaging economic consequences of some of its recommendations.
It said the living wage was a flawed concept, and would distort the labour market by artificially inflating wage pressures, and that in turn would risk undermining hard won competitive gains.