To mark May Day 2020, the Union of Students in Ireland is renewing its calls for the Living Wage to become Ireland’s National Minimum Wage so all employees are working for a wage that can support an acceptable standard of living.
The USI is urging the next government to make legislating for the Living Wage one of the top priorities on its agenda and to deal with it early in the next programme for government.
And the USI is also calling on businesses to introduce a Living Wage for its employees in order to ensure their workers and their families are not living below the poverty line while working.
The USI has made several submissions to the Low Pay Commission – the latest in March 2020 – outlining its argument that the Living Wage is the gross pay necessary to provide a minimum adequate income.
The calculation of the Living Wage is evidence based, built on budget standards research and grounded in social consensus.
The USI believes that the Living Wage would prevent exploitation, ensure minimum standards in terms of compensation and prevent race-to-the-bottom wage competition, while also protecting students and other vulnerable groups, including migrants.
As the Irish Living Wage campaign (www.livingwage.ie) outlines: “Earnings below the living wage suggest employees are forced to do without certain essentials so they can make ends meet.”
An increase in the National Minimum Wage to a Living Wage would see benefits for the low-paid students who are working to support their attendance in third-level education.
The USI also believes that all employees should be entitled to the full minimum wage and calls for an end of wage discrimination for those under 20-years-old, who are not currently legally obliged to be paid the National Minimum Wage.
The current Irish National Minimum Wage is €10.10 per hour while the current Irish Living Wage is calculated at €12.30 per hour.