The incoming government must introduce measures to tackle poverty among people in low-paid and precarious work, according to Social Justice Ireland.

Chief Executive Dr Sean Healy said there was no room for complacency about the Irish jobs market, because so many people with jobs are living in poverty and deprivation.

He welcomed the fact that unemployment has fallen to 4.8% last month, and that 2.32 million people are now in employment, which is the highest figure in the history of the State.

He also noted that employment has risen by 2.4% in the 12 months to autumn 2019.

However, Dr Healy said it was unacceptable that 110,000 people in employment are living below the poverty line, despite having a job.

He also noted that 200,000 people at work experience enforced deprivation, while a tenth of workers earn the National Minimum Wage of €9.80 per hour or less.

The minimum wage will rise to €10.10 tomorrow.

He pointed out that approximately a quarter of the workforce earns less than the living wage of €12.30.

That is the rate calculated to ensure that a single full-time worker can achieve a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.

Dr Healy said that Ireland has one of the highest rates of low-paid employment in the OECD.

In relation to the quality of work, Dr Healy pointed out that 8% of the workforce (160,000 people) are in precarious employment with significant variations in their working hours and income.

More than half of those are in temporary work because they cannot find permanent employment, while 112,000 in part-time work would accept full-time hours if they could secure them.

Social Justice Ireland has called for the incoming government to raise the national minimum wage to the level of the living wage of €12.30.

It said income tax credits should be made refundable to tackle the issue of the working poor, adding that this would cost the Exchequer around €140m a year.

Social Justice Ireland also proposes that all unemployment and poverty traps could be eliminated by integrating the tax and welfare systems.