Minister Issues New Orders Relating to Employment

The Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties has recently released two Orders relating to the national minimum wage and also with respect to the cost of living increase. These Orders were issued by the Minister on the recommendation of the Employment Relations Board and in line with the powers conferred to the Minister by the Employment and Industrial Relations Act.

The Order relating to the Cost of Living Increase is called the Wage Increase (Employees) National Standard Order, 2015 and it shall come into effect on the 1st of January, 2016. To this end, the wages of whole-time employees shall be increased by € 1.75 per week. The Order states that the hourly rate of part-time employees shall be increased by the same amount as the increase in the hourly rate of a comparable whole-time employee.

Notably, if it is not possible to calculate the hourly rate by comparing it to that of a whole-time employee, then the hourly shall be calculated by referring to a comparable whole-time employee in an applicable Wage Regulation Order. Ultimately, if reference could not be made to a Wage Regulation Order, the hourly rate would have to be calculated by taking one-fortieth of the rate of increase, namely that of € 1.75.

The increase of the Cost of Living Allowance was also contemplated by the Government’s Budget measures. In fact, the budget speech holds that the increase would not only be given to employees, but also to pensioners and individuals receiving social benefits emoluments.

The second Order issued recently by the Minister is called the National Minimum Wage National Standard Order, 2015, and shall also come into effect on the 1st of January, 2016. The Order states that the national minimum wage per week akin to a normal working week shall manifest as follows:

  • Age 18 years and over………………………………..……€168.01
  • Age 17 years………………………………………………..€161.23
  • Under 17 years……………………….……..………..…….€158.39

Furthermore, the Order continues to state that the national minimum wage of part-time employees shall be calculated on a pro rata basis at the same hourly rate of a comparable whole-time employee and in line with the minimum wage of the relevant Wage Regulation Order. Alternatively, if the Wage Regulation Order does not apply, the minimum wage must be calculated at an hourly rate not lower than the National Standard Minimum Wage applicable, as determined in conformity with the above mentioned figures and then divided by forty.

Lastly, the Order holds that in the eventuality where an employee is covered by a Wages Council Wage Regulation Order, the wages due to such employee in respect of the year 2016 shall not be less than those provided for by such Wages Council Wage Regulation Order for 2015.

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