21. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of public and civil servants earning the minimum wage and the living wage; his plans to ensure that all public and civil servants earn the living wage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47235/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy is aware my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection is responsible for setting the National Minimum Wage on recommendation from the Low Pay Commission. 

The current minimum wage is set at €9.25 and the third report of the Low Pay Commission recommended that this be increased by 30 cent per hour.

The Government welcomed that recommendation as a modest increase but one that is ahead of the rate of inflation and average increases in earnings. This would be the fourth increase in the minimum wage since 2011, and the second under this Government. This increase was confirmed by Government in the context of Budget 2018 and the minimum wage from 1 January 2018 will be €9.55 per hour.

Pay band data available to the Department indicates that some 94% of all public service staff are on salary points in excess of €25,000 per annum. The suggested wage at €11.70 per hour based on the Civil Service 37 hour standard net working week equates to an annual salary of €22,589.  

Data based on Civil Service staff only, which is some 12% of the overall public service, indicates that only some 1% of staff (FTE) in the Civil Service are on salary points less than €22,589.

Any of those currently on an annual salary of less than €22,589 could also be receiving remuneration in excess of the suggested living wage through additional premium payments in respect of shift or atypical working hours or are on salary scales that progress to the suggested living wage through incremental progression.

Under the new Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, from January 2018 pay in the public service will be further adjusted.  The pay increases provided for under the Agreement are again progressively weighted towards the lower paid with benefits ranging from 7.4% to 6.2% over the term to end 2020.