It was announced this week that a new living wage, to replace the current minimum wage, is to be phased in for Irish workers, starting in 2023. A living wage is an hourly rate of pay calculated to be the minimum amount that a worker needs to earn to cover the basic cost of living.
The memo which Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar has brought to Cabinet proposes that the living wage is to be set at 60% of the median wage in a given year. Based on this percentage, if the living wage rate were introduced today, it would be set at €12.17 per hour.
The National Minimum Wage was first introduced in Ireland in April 2000 and was also roughly 60% of the median wage at the time. The minimum wage has increased by around 47% since it was first introduced, but it has not kept up with the average earnings or the cost of living.
Since 1st January 2022, the National Minimum Wage is €10.50 per hour for those aged 20 and over.
Rates for other workers are as follows:
|Age group||Minimum hourly rate of pay||% of minimum wage|
|Aged under 18||€7.35||70%|
The national minimum wage will remain in place until the living wage rate is fully phased in, in 2026. The minimum wage rate will increase between now and 2026, closing the gap between the minimum and the living wage. However, the full living wage may be introduced faster or slower than the proposed time frame, depending on prevailing economic circumstances. The Tánaiste has said that the reason the living wage is being introduced gradually is because if it is brought in too quickly businesses could close, or employees could see their hours cut. Leo Varadkar will consult with various interested parties, including employer and worker representative groups, unions and the public on the draft plan.
The living wage is just one of the improvements to workers' rights to be introduced over the coming years. Other changes we are set to see for employees is the introduction of statutory sick pay and automatic enrolment onto pension schemes.
Automating your workflow in 2022 is the key to a successful business. The process of manually entering data is long gone, as automating tasks allows you to save time and reduce the number of repetitive tasks you manage.
BrightPay Payroll Software is now integrated with payment platform, Modulr, to provide a faster, easier and more reliable way to pay employees. The integration has created a more seamless way of paying your employees, saving you time for other tasks.
Traditionally, employee payments are a time-consuming task that can cause major headaches for employers, when not done correctly. It can turn into an arduous process, especially when errors are made. As well as the time delays, when employees haven't been paid correctly or on time, it can damage employee morale. Errors that can occur when paying employees include:
At BrightPay, we want to make our customers' payroll journey as easy as possible. BrightPay’s integration with payment platform, Modulr, has taken away the manual data entry workload associated with making payments to employees, and eliminates the need to create bank files.
Modulr is a payment platform integrated into your payroll software and is a faster, easier and more reliable way to pay employees. Modulr offers a safe and reliable way of paying your employees as it has built in multi-factor authentication, meaning you must confirm your identity through an app on your mobile.
The integration allows employees to be paid on the same day when payments have been authorised on a business day before 2pm. This helps reduce payment errors as it gives you the opportunity to make any last-minute changes to the payroll, such as adding overtime pay.
Although there are several steps to get your Modulr account set up and activated, once set up, it is an efficient way to pay your employees. As mentioned, employees can be paid on the same day, when payments have been processed on a business day before 2 pm. Otherwise, they will be paid on the next business day. Thanks to the integration, you can maximise efficiency while allowing you to process your employees payments with ease. Book a free demo of BrightPay today to learn more.
On the 21st January 2022, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced changes to Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) subsidy rates from 1st February.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions which were brought in last December, the enhanced rates of the EWSS were extended for all businesses for December 2021 and January 2022. As well as this, the scheme was reopened in December for certain businesses who were previously registered for the EWSS and experienced a reduction in turnover as a direct effect of these new restrictions. With these restrictions now lifted from 21st January, many businesses have returned to normal, and the EWSS rates are now changing in line with this.
From 1st February we will begin to see a gradual reduction in subsidy rates up until the scheme ends for all businesses in May. The EWSS rates which businesses are eligible to receive will depend on whether or not they were one of the businesses that were directly impacted by the COVID-19 regulations which were introduced in December.
The reduced rate of employer’s PRSI of 0.5% will continue to apply to wages paid before 1 March 2022 in relation to those who are eligible for the subsidy payment. The full rate of employers’ PRSI will be reinstated with effect from 1 March 2022 for all businesses.
For businesses that were directly impacted by the COVID-19 regulations that were introduced in December 2021, they will continue to receive the enhanced EWSS rates for the month of February, as outlined in the table below. For the month of March, the EWSS rates will revert to the original two-rate subsidy of €151.50 for employees with a gross weekly wage of between €151.50 to €202.99 and €203 for employees with a gross weekly wage of between €203 and €1461.99. For the months of April and May, businesses will receive a flat rate of €100 per employee. The scheme will eventually end for these businesses on 31st May 2022.
|Employee gross weekly wage||February 2022||March 2022||April 2022||May 2022|
|Less than €151.50||Nil||Nil||Nil||Nil|
|€151.50 to €202.99||€203||€151.50||€100||€100|
|€203 - €299.99||€250||€203||€100||€100|
|€300 - €399.99||€300||€203||€100||€100|
|€400 - €1,462||€350||€203||€100||€100|
For businesses that were not directly impacted by the COVID-19 regulations that were introduced in December 2021, the enhanced subsidy rate will end on 31st January, and they will receive the two-rate subsidy for the month of February. For the months of March and April, these businesses will receive a flat rate of €100 per employee. The scheme will then end for these businesses on 30th April 2022.
|Employee gross weekly wage||February 2022||March 2022||April 2022|
|Less than €151.50||Nil||Nil||Nil|
|€151.50 to €202.99||€151.50||€100||€100|
|€203 - €1462||€203||€100||€100|
Note: Revenue are working on updating their systems to cater for these changes. A BrightPay upgrade will also be released in line with these new changes.
On February 4th, BrightPay will be holding a free online webinar where we will be joined by representatives from Revenue to discuss recent EWSS changes and the updated guidance for employers. We will also have a questions and answers section at the end of the webinar where we will answer any questions you may have regarding the scheme.
Due to the changes and updates to the COVID-19 Government schemes, our support team put together the top four common questions – asked by you and answered by us!
When earnings fluctuate and are within the limits for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) in some pay periods and not others, do we need to untick EWSS for the employee?
No. There is no need to remove the tick for EWSS, our software will remove the indicator from the payroll submission (PSR) in the pay periods the earnings fall outside the relevant limits.
The subsidy being received is more than we are paying the employees, do we pay the employees the difference or will we owe that money back to Revenue?
In some scenarios the employer will receive a subsidy greater than the wages they are paying; they will not have to repay that money to Revenue. The employee should only be paid the wages that are due and not any extra. In other scenarios the subsidy received from Revenue will be less than the wages they are paying.
What payments are permitted under EWSS e.g., can you pay the employees commission?
Yes. The EWSS is a subsidy payable to employers, therefore, it will not show on employee payslips or in myAccount. Under EWSS employers are required to pay employees in the normal manner i.e., calculating and deducting Income Tax, USC and employee PRSI through the payroll. Employees should be paid the wages that are due to them which can include commission, overtime etc.
When employees are claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) from the Department of Social Protection, do we need to do anything on the payroll?
Yes. You should ensure that the employee’s payment is changed to zero, continue to update them with zero pay until such time you are paying them wages again.
There can often be some confusion surrounding an employee's entitlement to pay for a public holiday particularly where the employee may be part-time or the public holiday falls on a day that the employee does not normally work.
It is also worth noting that not every bank holiday is a public holiday though in most cases they coincide. Good Friday is a bank holiday but it is not a public holiday. The following dates are the official public holidays in Ireland.
Employees who qualify for public holiday benefit will be entitled to one of the following:
So, who is entitled to a payment?
How to calculate the amount to be paid?
If the public holiday falls on a day which the employee would normally work:
If the public holiday falls on a day which the employee does not normally work:
Further information can be found at Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.
The Low Pay Commission has recommended that the National Minimum Wage be increased by 30c per hour, from €9.25 per hour to €9.55 per hour from 1st January 2018. An employee working a 40 hour week will see their gross wage increase by €12.00 a week. Since 2011 this is the fourth increase in the national minimum wage.
In the report the Low Pay Commission has published it has explained with necessary data of its recommendation of the increase, including international competitive and risks to the economy research. In The Low Pay Commission’s findings submissions from interested parties and consultations with employees and employers in relevant economic sectors had taken place.
This increase will affect around 120,000 employees, increasing their national minimum wage by 3%. 10.1% of employees were earning the National Minimum Wage or less last year according to figures published from the Central Statistics Office last April.
While Taoiseach Leo Vardakar said ‘The Government welcomes the recommendation from the Low Pay Commission to increase the National Minimum Wage by 30c to €9.55 per hour’, the Programme for Government commitment for a minimum wage of €10.50 per hour is still a few steps off.
The 2017 Living Wage has been set at €11.70 per hour, up from €11.50 last year. The new figure represents an increase of 20 cent per hour on the previous rate. The recommended living wage rate is now nearly a third higher than the legally required minimum wage, which is set at €9.25 an hour.
The 20 cent increase in the Living Wage was arrived at upon consideration of a number of changes in the cost of living and the taxation regime in the last year. The Living Wage for the Republic of Ireland was established in 2014, and is updated in July of each year. It is part of a growing international trend to establish an evidence-based hourly income that a full-time worker needs so that they can experience a socially acceptable minimum standard of living.
Where employees use their own private cars or motorcycles for business purposes, reimbursement in respect of allowable motoring expenses can be effected by way of flat-rate mileage allowances.
There are two types of mileage allowance schemes which are acceptable for tax purposes if an employee bears all the motoring expenses:
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has recently published circulars with new Civil Service Travel Rates, the revised rates are effective from 1st April 2017. The distance bands have increased from two to four with a lower recoupment rate for the first 1,500 kilometres.
Business travel carried out between 1st January and 31st March 2017 will not be affected by these new bands and rates, business travel to date from 1st January 2017 will count towards the cumulative business travel for the year.
Motor Travel Rates - Effective from 1st April 2017
Reduced Motor Travel Rates per kilometre
The reduced rates are payable to Civil Service employees who undertake a journey associated with their job but not solely related to the performance of their duties, such as:
The Motor Travel Rates for motorcycles and bicycles remain unchanged as follows:
Bicycle: 8 cent per km
Please note, there are changes to subsistence rates which are also effective from 1st April 2017.
Employers – the P35 deadline is fast approaching, the deadline is February 15th. (Or 46 days after the cessation of the business) Failure to make a P35 return by this date may result in a fine.
The deadline for an employer who pays and files electronically via Revenue Online Services (ROS) is extended to the 23rd of February.
To view our online documentation for preparing and submitting your P35 to ROS via Thesaurus Payroll Manager or BrightPay please click on the links below:
Thesaurus Payroll Manager:
The National Minimum Wage Act, 2000 states that the NMW is €8.65 per hour, there are some exceptions to this.
Where employees are under the age of 18 or within the first 2 years after the date of their first employment over the age of 18, the rate is €6.06 per hour
In the first 2 years after the date of first employment over the age of 18, the rate is €6.92 per hour in the first year and €7.79 per hour in the second year
Where a trainee is doing a course which complies with S.I. No. 99 of 2000 for the 1st one third of the period the rate is €6.49 per hour, the 2nd one third the rate is €6.92 per hour, and the 3rd one third the rate is €7.79 per hour.
S.I. No 99 of 2000 is the Statutory Instrument which forms part of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000
For the protection of both employees and employers a Contract of Employment, which is now a legal requirement, should be given to each employee as this will state clearly what is expected of both sides and will minimise or hopefully prevent issues arising that lead to ill feeling or disputes in the workplace.