The new national minimum wage rate will come into effect on February 1 following the signing of the order on Wednesday by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe.
The order sets the new rate at €7.65 per hour.
Minister O’Keeffe said the move to reduce the rate by €1 would help improve Ireland’s competitiveness.
“Labour costs represent a relatively high proportion of total input costs across a range of locally trading sectors. They are a significant input into the cost of domestic services while at the same time impacting on our ability to sell abroad. They are a key influencer in foreign direct investment decisions. Our economic research tells us that a reduction in the national minimum wage will cut the cost of doing business and support more jobs in the medium term,” said Minister O’Keeffe.
The latest data from the Central Statistics Office shows that some 47,000 workers, or 3.1 per cent of the employed labour force, are paid at or below the current adult experienced worker rate of €8.65 per hour.
Even after the reduction to €7.65 per hour, the new rate will remain in the top tier of minimum wage rates set by European Union member states.
It will be about 12 per cent higher than the equivalent minimum hourly rate in the United Kingdom.
“It is essential to strike the right balance between the minimum wage, labour legislation, social welfare rates, taxation and activation of the labour market to avoid disincentives to return to work,” added Minister O’Keeffe.