National minimum wage in detail

Under the National Minimum Wage Act 2000, most employees are entitled to a minimum wage. However, there is provision for sub-minimum rates for certain employees.

The national minimum wage is subject to annual review by the Irish Government when considering its annual fiscal budget. As of 1 January 2019, under the National Minimum Wage Order 2018 the national minimum wage for an experienced adult employee is EUR 9.80 per hour. An experienced adult employee is defined as an employee over the age of 18 who has been employed for at least 2 years. 

There are some exceptions to those entitled to receive the national minimum wage. For example, the Act does not apply to a person employed by a close relative (i.e. a spouse, civil partner or parent) or to employees in statutory apprenticeships. Employees under the age of 18 and those in the first 2 years of employment can also be paid sub-minimum rates. For those under the age of 18 the minimum wage is EUR 6.86 per hour. For those over the age of 18 and in the first year of employment, the minimum wage is EUR 7.86 per hour, which rises to EUR 8.82 per hour in the second year of employment. The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018, which will be enacted in March 2019, provides that further regulations on minimum wage for employees who are age 19 or younger can be implemented by Ministerial regulations. In any event these cannot prescribe a percentage that is below the following percentages of the minimum hourly wage: 

  1. in the case of employees under age 18, less than 70%;
  2. in the case of employees who are 18 years of age, less than 80%; and
  3. in the case of employees who are 19 years of age, less than 90%.

There are other minimum rates of pay for employees in certain sectors. In some sectors they are set out in Employment Regulation Orders (EROs) made by Joint Labour Committees. 

The average Irish working week for full time employees is 39 hours per week (with a legal maximum of 48 hours per week calculated as an average over a four-month reference period).

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Author: Lewis Silkin LLP Ireland

Date: March 2019

Note: For specific advice on any particular issue, please consult the relevant firm. The law is stated as at March 2019.


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