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Minister Nash invites companies to attend Living Wage Forum in September

One day conference to explore the introduction of a Living Wage Campaign to Ireland

The Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD, is calling on companies to register their interest in attending a Forum on the Living Wage on the 30th September in Dublin Castle.

Minister Nash is hosting the one day conference to explore the possibility of introducing a Living Wage Campaign to Ireland. A Living Wage is an independently assessed and agreed measure of the income necessary to meet basic needs like housing, food, utilities, clothing, transport, health care and minimal recreation.

A Living Wage technical Group has calculated that the hourly Living Wage rate in Ireland should be €11.50 per hour.

Employers, trade unions, workers, civil society groups and other interested parties are being invited to register their interest in attending the Forum by emailing livingwage@djei.ie.

Minister Nash said, “Progressive employers and workers have approached me asking how to become involved in supporting or exploring the concept of a Living Wage here in Ireland. As a result, I have decided to host a Living Wage Forum on the 30th of September, to bring together interested people with a view to examining the positive impacts for employers, employees and society from the introduction of a Living Wage Campaign here.”

“This is very much in keeping with my dignity at work agenda, and recognising that people who work for a living should be paid a decent wage. However, it is important to stress that the Living Wage is a voluntary initiative and is different to the minimum wage, which is the statutory pay floor beneath which no worker should fall.”

“I recognise that there are many struggling firms in this country, as well as struggling workers. It is not my intention to insist that the Living Wage becomes the minimum wage. But, I do believe that work should always pay and that there is a business case to be made to employers who can afford to do so to pay a Living Wage and ensure the benefits of the recovery are felt by their workers too.”

Research in the UK has shown that 80% of Living Wage employers in London believe being part of the campaign has enhanced the quality of work of their staff, while absenteeism has fallen by a quarter. Two thirds of employers reported a significant impact on recruitment and retention within their organisation. 70% of employers felt that the Living Wage had increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.

75% of employees reported increases in work quality as a result of receiving the Living Wage. While 50% of employees felt that the Living Wage had made them more willing to implement changes in their working practices - Living Wage Foundation UK website

Minister Nash concluded, “I believe that paying a Living Wage is the right thing to do for employers who can afford to, but I also believe it makes good business sense too. The Forum on the 30th of September is an opportunity for companies to get involved right at the start in shaping what a Living Wage Campaign in this country would be. I would urge employers to get involved at this early stage.”

Representatives from Living Wage Campaigns in London and Scotland will give an insight into how the campaigns were successfully introduced at the Forum. While large businesses from the UK will explain why they became Living Wage employers and the impact this has had on their business.

To register interest in attending the Living Wage Forum, please email livingwage@djei.ie

ENDS

For more information contact:

Deirdre Grant 086 0484 279 or DJEI Press Office 01 631 2200 or press.office@djie.ie

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