The Government has approved an increase in the National Minimum Wage of 10 cent an hour, which will bring it to €10.20 per hour from 1 January.
The move is set to benefit over 122,000 minimum wage workers, though unions have dismissed the increase of less than 1% as inadequate.
Some weeks ago, Irish Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Patricia King and the General Secretary of the retail union Mandate Gerry Light quit the Low Pay Commission on the basis that the group's proposed 10 cent increase did not go far enough to address the needs of minimum wage workers.
Ms King said today, "Many of the workers on the minimum wage form part of the group of essential workers who have helped keep our economy going through this Covid-19 pandemic. It is therefore completely unacceptable that they and other workers who are the lowest paid in this state would not be afforded decency and fairness by receiving an equitable increase in the minimum wage".
The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, noted that the minimum wage had risen from €8.65 in 2016 to its current rate of €10.10.
However, she also pledged to reform PRSI thresholds to reflect the increase in the minimum wage and assist employers.
"I also want to ensure that the increase in the minimum wage does not result in employers having to pay a higher level of PRSI charge solely due to this increase. I will make regulations that will increase the employer PRSI threshold from €395 currently to €398 from 1st January 2021," she said.
Ms Humhreys said that the Low Pay Commission had played an important role in improving data collection on low paid and minimum wage workers, and developing a strong research base.
ICTU confirmed that its representatives had withdrawn from the LPC last week "...as they could not in conscience be a party to any recommendation that did not afford the lowest-paid workers in the country an increase at least similar to that applicable in other sectors of our economy."
Ms King said many minimum wage workers formed part of the group of essential workers who had kept the economy going through the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It is therefore completely unacceptable that they and other workers who are the lowest paid in this state would not be afforded decency and fairness by receiving an equitable increase in the minimum wage," she said.