herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Minimum wage will increase by 30 cents an hour

Minister Paschal Donohoe will announce the increase. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Minister Paschal Donohoe will announce the increase. Photo: RollingNews.ie

Ministers will sign off on a 30c increase to the minimum wage in advance of tomorrow's Budget.

The hike, which will bring the lowest legal wage to €9.55 an hour, is to be discussed by the Cabinet tomorrow.

Based on the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, the increase will come into effect from January 1.

Inflation

It amounts to a 3.2pc increase in the national minimum wage, which is significantly ahead of the rate of inflation and will benefit at least 150,000 workers.

The Herald understands that Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will formally announce the increase during his first Budget speech.

It will be the second increase to the minimum wage since this Government, involving Fine Gael and Independents, came to office, following a 10c increase last year.

Meanwhile, negotiations have gone down to the wire on the implementation of a new social welfare package.

Sources have indicated that Mr Donohoe and Fianna Fail have still not tied down the new package, with an ongoing dispute over when the €5 welfare increases should kick in during the year.

It has emerged that Mr Donohoe must find up to €450m for the welfare package, which will include an extra €5 a week for pensioners, carers, the disabled and the unemployed.

Fine Gael has insisted that, similar to last year, all welfare recipients should receive the increase.

Prescription

However, the cost implications are posing a major difficulty.

At the moment, Mr Donohoe intends to cut the prescription fee paid by medical card holders aged from 65 to 69 by 50c.

There is also a proposal to cut the maximum payment for prescription drugs by €10 to €134.

However, this may not be possible unless the social welfare increases are pushed back until at least the end of March.

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