The housing crisis has led to the 2019 Living Wage rate going up to €12.30 an hour, a 40c increase on last year's rate.

The change to the rate is determined by the fluctuation of living costs and taxation.

It is calculated by the Living Wage Technical Group, which is made up of researchers and academics and is conducted by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (VPSJ).

The group says the ongoing increase in rents once again pushed up living costs over the last year.

It says the overall cost of a socially acceptable minimum standard of living increased by an average of 2.3% for a single full-time worker without dependents over the past year.

It adds that, aside from housing, there has been very little change in the overall cost of the minimum needs of a full-time single worker in the last year.

The Living Wage rate for Ireland was first calculated in 2014 at €11.45 an hour.

The group says that if rents had increased at the same pace as other living costs, the Living Wage in 2019 would be lower than the 2014 rate.

The Living Wage is a recommended wage for what the authors deem to be an acceptable standard of living.

While not legally binding, a number of employers have committed to paying it.

Assistant Professor of Social Policy at UCD Dr Micheál Collins said substantial increases in housing are driving up living costs for workers.

Dr Collins said that some costs - including food, household items, communication costs and income tax - have fallen over the past year, but energy costs have risen, compared to last year.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr Collins said: "Energy costs are higher this year than they were last year. And in sense, without anything else changing, the Living Wage would be static, but what has driven it up this year is that other increase in costs which comes from really quite substantial increases in housing costs." 

In the Dáil, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the national minimum wage in Ireland was now the second highest in the European Union and he said the country is "far" from being behind the curve.

He was responding to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, who said the Living Wage was now set at €12.30 per hour, which she said is more than the minimum wage at €9.80 per hour. 

Speaking during Leaders' Questions today, Ms McDonald said this was a sizable gap and she said workers deserve to be treated and paid fairly for their work. 

She asked the Taoiseach when the Government planned to legislate for the Living Wage.

The Taoiseach said public sector pay was negotiated with trade unions under public sector pay deals that happen periodically and that do not require legislation.

He said there was a pay deal in place with public service trade unions and that is how they decide on pay levels.