Young Workers deserve equal pay for equal work

02 November 2023
  • Time for Low Pay Commission to recommend end of sub minima rates

Labour’s Workers’ Rights Spokesperson Senator Marie Sherlock has welcomed new research from the Economic and Social Research Institute on young worker pay levels. However, Senator Sherlock has warned that this does not change the fact that the sub-minimum wage for 18-19 year olds is inherently discriminatory and goes against the principle of equal pay for equal work. She called on Government to immediately end the discriminatory laws against young workers.

Senator Sherlock said:

“The ERSI research is welcome in that it adds to our knowledge of what young workers are paid in this country. However, the research does not change the fact that the sub-minimum wage is inherently discriminatory. It treats adults aged 18 and 19 like children, and it reflects a patriarchal view that that their earnings are akin to pocket money.

“The reality is that thousands of 18-19 year olds depend on their work to survive. Whether they are students or work is their main activity we know that many are paying rent, bills and other expenses, and they deserve to be paid a fair wage.

“The slow pace of progress on reviewing the sub-minimum wage is incredibly frustrating. The Low Pay Commission was asked by the Government to look at this issue last year, but they have been moving at a snail’s pace.

“Young workers deserve equal pay for equal work. It is unacceptable that young workers aged under 20 may be paid as low as €9.04, despite being legal adults. Those aged 18 are only entitled to 80% of minimum wage at €9.04.

“The Government needs to act now to end this discrimination. They should abolish the sub-minimum wage for 18-19 year olds and ensure that all workers, regardless of their age, are paid a fair wage.”

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