Complete Guide to the National Minimum Wage in Ireland, 2024

Posted on 21st February 2024
national minimum wage bundles of euro notes

The year 2024 has brought significant changes to the national minimum wage in Ireland. From the minimum hourly rates for different age groups to additional allowances and exceptions based on specific circumstances, this article will guide you through the critical aspects of the Irish national minimum wage increases, which took effect on 1st January 2024.

Importance of Minimum Wage Increases

The National Minimum Wage Act 2000 was signed into law in March 2000 to ensure that most employees receive a minimum wage. The national minimum wage is crucial in ensuring fair compensation for workers and providing a basic standard of living. Given that the cost of living continues to rise, it is essential to periodically review and adjust the minimum wage rates. This enables us to keep pace with inflation and maintain a level playing field for employees across various industries. Furthermore, these increases also positively impact the economy, as they boost consumer spending and stimulate growth.

Overview of the National Minimum Wage Increases in Ireland for 2024

With effect from 1st January 2024, there have been significant increases in the national minimum wage in Ireland. The new rates apply to different age groups, ensuring workers are fairly compensated based on their experience and maturity. Here is an overview of minimum wage increases:

  • For employees aged 20 and over, the minimum wage will increase to €12.70 per hour.
  • Workers aged 19 will see their minimum wage rise to €11.43 per hour.
  • Those aged 18 will have a minimum wage of €10.16 per hour.
  • Employees under 18 will be entitled to a minimum wage of €8.89 per hour.
national minimum wage increases chart 2024

Note that there are specific minimum rates of pay that apply to particular sectors, such as cleaning and security, which are governed by Joint Labour Committees. In these sectors, an employee agreement or employee order is sometimes used to detail the working conditions of the employees.

Impact of the Minimum Wage Increases on Businesses

Without a doubt, the minimum wage increases in Ireland for 2024 will impact businesses, particularly those operating in industries with a high proportion of low-wage workers. Most importantly, these wage hikes mean increased labour costs for employers. This can pose challenges, especially for smaller businesses with limited financial resources. Therefore, it may require business owners to reevaluate their operating expenses, adjust their pricing strategies, or explore ways to enhance productivity to offset the increased costs.

Employer Exemptions:

In cases where employers are experiencing financial difficulties and cannot pay the minimum wage, they can apply to the Labour Court for an exemption. In such circumstances, the majority of the employees must agree to the exemption. The Labour Court can only permit the exemption for a period ranging from a minimum of 3 months to a maximum of one year.

Compliance with the National Minimum Wage Increases

Compliance with the new minimum wage rates is essential for businesses to avoid legal repercussions and maintain a positive reputation. Most importantly, the onus is on employers to ensure they pay their employees the correct minimum wage based on the applicable age group. Failing to comply with the minimum wage increases can result in penalties, legal disputes, and damage to a company’s brand image.

Therefore, businesses should review their payroll systems and update them accordingly to ensure compliance and avoid unnecessary penalties. Above all, it is crucial to keep accurate records of employees’ working hours and wages to demonstrate compliance with the minimum wage legislation. Furthermore, employers should also communicate the changes to their workforce and address any concerns or questions that may arise. In short, by prioritising compliance, businesses can build employee trust, foster a positive work environment, and avoid legal issues.

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What Does “Gross Pay” Include?

Gross pay refers to total pay before any deductions (e.g. tax, pension contributions) are made. In other words, gross pay includes basic pay, shift premiums, fees, bonuses and commissions, service charges and Zero Hours payments. Furthermore, if an employer supplies food (“board”) or accommodation (“lodgings”), these must also be included in the minimum wage calculation at a rate of €1.14 per hour for board and €30 per week or €4.28 per day for lodgings.

Finally, once the gross pay rate has been established based on these factors, the employee’s hourly rate can be calculated – gross pay divided by the total number of hours worked. However, it is important to note that specific allowances such as overtime premiums, on-call allowances and certain other payments are not considered when calculating the minimum wage. Most importantly, both employers and employees alike should know what the minimum wage does and doesn’t include.

The Future of the National Minimum Wage:

The national minimum wage will continue to increase until 2026 when a national living wage for employees will replace it. As the Low Pay Commission recommends, the national living wage will initially be 60% of hourly median salaries.

After introducing the national living wage in 2026, the Low Pay Commission will monitor its impact to decide whether to increase it to 66% of the hourly median wage. This is a crucial step in the Irish government’s commitment to improving conditions for workers.


In conclusion, given that the National Minimum Wage increases will significantly impact both workers and businesses over the foreseeable future, employers must understand the new rates, ensure compliance, and adapt their operations accordingly. Likewise, employees should be aware of their rights and take steps to secure fair compensation.

In short, staying informed and seeking professional guidance are vital to navigating and thriving in the evolving landscape of wage legislation in Ireland.

o’donnell+co provides Irish payroll bureau services to clients across Ireland. For guaranteed payroll accuracy and compliance, call our expert IPASS-certified team on 061 317500 or email us at

Useful Resources on Minimum Wage Changes

Irish government website national minimum wage increases

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