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Minimum Wage in Ireland – What to expect

Many Brazilians who come to Ireland arrive with the intention of not just studying, but also working. During school semesters Brazilians are entitled to work 20 hours per week and during school holidays they can work full time. These work rules favor Ireland over many other popular destinations for English language students, with many other destinations not allow working conditions with such study visas.

At present the current minimum wage in Ireland stands at €9.80, which works out at over €1,600 per month for a full time role (based on 40 hours per week). There is also what is commonly known as a “living” wage which many companies have adopted, paying all staff members at least €11.90 per hour. Those lucky enough to earn employment at such companies who adopt the “living wage” practise are guaranteed €11.90 for every hour they work, even at the most entry level position.

If you are coming to Ireland and manage to find employment of any type ( full time, seasonal or part time) you must be paid a very minimum of €9.80 by law. Companies or individuals, no matter what business sector they operate in can face severe fines and/or prosecution if they are found guilty of underpaying.

I found work but my employer is paying me less than the minimum wage…

If you have yet to start your employment but were offered a position with wages below the required €9.80 per hour then your employer is breaking the law. Larger companies would likely not risk paying below the minimum wages, this situation would most likely occur with sole traders, unregistered business’ or casual jobs. Ask your employer will you be receiving a wage slip (which is also a legal requirement). If they have stated they are paying you the minimum wage but deductions such as tax make it seem lower than expected query this with a phone call or visit to a citizens information office, who provide free advice. A wage slip makes it easy to see all deductions from your salary, and for those on low pay there should be little deductions, if any.  Your employer will not know if you contact such centers and they will not report to your employer. They can also also provide you with information on how to report your employer.

I found a job, but they want to pay me cash in hand

It is illegal for an employer to pay a job cash in hand. A wage slip is required and all workers must have a PPS number. If your employer has not asked you for your PPS number or provided you with a wage slip then they could be intending to pay you cash in hand. There are still many employers who will pay via this method, in particular in the service industry. If you are offered such a job you may risk losing the job offer by requesting a minimum wage but on the other side you can get into trouble with the authorities for accepting such work. Where possible avoid cash in hand work.

My employer is paying me below the minimum wage but I was told I would keep tips

Unlike in America even waitresses and service industry personnel must be paid the minimum wage. Tipping is not a common practice in Ireland and even for those lucky enough to earn additional income via tips this is completely separate to your wages, and cannot be used to as part of your payslip. You must still be paid at least €9.80 per hour on top of your tips.

If your employer is keeping or sharing your tips with other staff members this is common practise in some establishments, to ensure the chefs and kitchen staff also benefit. A gray area is the owner keeping some of the tips for themselves, and there is currently a campaign underway with politicians to ensure this practise is outlawed.

But what about the cost of living?

The relatively high minimum wage might sound enticing when compared side by side with the Brazilian Reil, but it doesn’t factor in the cost of living. Accommodation in Ireland is in increasingly short supply, in particular in cities such as Dublin or Galway. Ireland is currently facing severe housing shortages, a tend which is set to continue, resulting in the highest average rents ever across the county. If you manage to find suitable and affordable accommodation before you arrive you are in a good position to search for jobs, with jobs being plentiful at present.

Author: James Osborne

While not Brazilian himself James has a lot of Brazilian influences in his life, with a partner from Minas Gerais and many Brazilian friends and colleagues. James loves all things tech, in particular front end web development and open source platforms such as WordPress and Joomla.
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