The government pushed to scrap lower minimum wages for young people

Lower wage rates for young people should be scrapped if a new national living wage replaces the minimum wage, the government has warned.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) rejects a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission and sees “no justification” for keeping age-based rates.

“A lower rate for younger workers working alongside older colleagues and subject to the same costs cannot be called a living wage,” it said.

The Low Pay Commission recommended that youth rates continue to apply when a new national living wage comes into effect.

There are currently different minimum wage rates for younger people depending on their age. The minimum wage is 10.50 euros per hour for people aged 20 and over, 9.45 euros per hour for 19 year olds, 8.40 euros per hour for 18 year olds and 7.35 euros per hour for under 18 year olds.

Enterprises Minister Leo Varadkar has proposed that the new living wage should replace the minimum wage of €10.50 an hour in four years.

“Progress towards a living wage should include the elimination of reduced rates for younger workers,” the bill reads.

ICTU said NUI Maynooth’s research does not examine the evidence for age-based eligibility.

The bill states that Ireland is one of only five EU countries to continue to have age-related rates in their national minimum wages. These are Belgium, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Ireland.

European law allows age discrimination on minimum wages, but only if the discrimination serves a “legitimate aim,” it added.

“These include legitimate employment policy, labor market and vocational training goals. The justification for discrimination must be specific and based on evidence,” it said.

The ICTU disagrees with the commission but notes that it recommends a report to examine the maintenance, abolition or expansion of youth quotas.

The union confederation disagrees with a four-year government ‘straw man’ proposal for introducing a living wage. It said it doesn’t go far enough to redeem the program for the government’s pledge to earn a living wage over a lifetime. The government pushed to scrap lower minimum wages for young people

Fry Electronics Team

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