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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: National Minimum Wage

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Did you just get your first job or have you recently returned to the workforce? You may also have recently arrived in Ireland and not know what to expect with regard to rates of payment.

Sometimes people can be slow to question employers about payment rates especially younger people and students, who in the current climate are experiencing more and more difficulty in finding summer jobs and part-time work.

When you start a job the amount you will be paid is generally agreed between you and your employer says Declan Canty, Information Officer with South Munster CIS who is based in Kerry.

“So it is important to be aware that most employees are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. Your wages are the amount of pay you receive before any money has been deducted from it such as Tax, PRSI, USC etc.”

What is the Minimum Wage?

Since the 1st of January 2022 the National Minimum wage is €10.50 per hour. This is the rate which should be paid to most employees over the age of 20 years. For younger age groups there are what are called sub-minimum rates, calculated as a percentage of the full rate. Those aged 19 years receive 90% or €9.45 per hour. For an 18-year-old this reduces to 80% or €8.40 per hour, and those aged under 18 receive 70% of the minimum rate which works out at €7.35 per hour. It is important to remember the Minimum Wage does not prevent your employer from paying you a higher rate. A minimum wage exists in Ireland since the introduction of the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 when it was just €5.58 per hour. Over the years it has been adjusted on 10 occasions and it applies to full-time, part-time, temporary and casual workers as well as seasonal employees.

How do I know if I am getting the Minimum Wage?

The method for calculation is to divide your Gross Pay by the total number of hours you have worked. Your working hours will be set out in your contract of employment or a Statement of the Terms of your employment. When doing this calculation you should not include any premium for working overtime or for working on Saturdays or Sundays and Public Holidays. Declan advises that if you have any difficulty with this you can ask your employer for a written statement of your average rate of pay for any pay reference period within the last 12 months. The pay reference period is the time that the hours are worked over such as weekly fortnightly or monthly.

What should I do if I am not getting the Minimum Wage?

You can begin by discussing this with your employer. It is important to note however that there are different rates for certain sectors such as Cleaning and Security. Other workers not entitled to the Minimum Wage include those employed by close relatives such as a parent or a spouse, along with statutory apprenticeships. If your employer says that they cannot afford to pay you the Minimum Wage due to financial difficulty the Labour Court may exempt them from paying it for anything from three months to one year. The employer must apply to the Labour Court for the exemption and they must have the consent of the majority of their employees. Only one exemption can be allowed and it will only be granted for the full rate of the National Minimum Wage.

As you may find it difficult to raise this issue with your employer Declan Canty from SMCIS said that it is important to be aware that you cannot be victimised in any way by asking to be paid the National Minimum Wages which you are entitled to. If you are dismissed for asking your employer for the Minimum Wage you are entitled to make a claim for unfair dismissal regardless of the length of time you have worked for your employer or the number of hours you have worked.

How to make a complaint:

If you are not getting the Minimum Wage you should first speak to your employer to see if the issue can be resolved. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your employer your next option available is to complete the online complaint form on the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) website. This form will give you two options from which you are only permitted to select one.

1. You can request an investigation by an inspector from the Workplace Relations Commission. The inspector will look into your claim that the National Minimum Wage is not being paid, or

2. You can refer a dispute to a WRC adjudicator. You can only do this after asking your employer for a statement outlining the calculation of the average hourly pay and you must refer the dispute within six months of receiving the statement.

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860. They will be happy to assist you and if necessary arrange an appointment for you.

Kerry HELPLINE 0818 07 7860

Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie.

The National Phone Service is available on 0818 07 4000 Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm.

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Wine, art and lots of catching up at popular fundraiser

By Michelle Crean Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night. Over 50 exhibitors gathered in […]

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By Michelle Crean

Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night.

Over 50 exhibitors gathered in the Great Southern Killarney as the Killarney Rotary Club’s fundraising event – which is one of the biggest in the town each year – was back after a COVID break.

During the afternoon the artists and crafters, many who travelled from all over Kerry, Clare, Cork and even Waterford this year, organised their display for the event. Later that evening there were a lot of familiar faces but also some new people who absolutely loved the evening.

There were many wines available to taste as well as cheese and breads at the event which is run in conjunction with Daly’s SuperValu, Killarney and Killarney Brewing Company.

“There was a huge attendance and everybody was in good spirits to be back to normal,” President of Rotary, Rayla Tadjimatova, said.

“Many of the patrons were buying some art as Christmas presents and the members of Rotary were delighted to be kept busy packing these. A portion of all art sales goes to the fundraiser. One local young man, who is only 16, exhibited his beautiful photographs of local scenic areas. There was an auction of donated works of art and a Kerry Jersey. All one hundred percent of the proceeds from this auction goes to the fundraiser.”

Mike Neeson entertained the crowd on arrival and right until the end of the night.

“Mike is a great supporter of our events and we would like to thank him for keeping everybody entertained.”

The Irish Pilgrimage Trust ran the raffle and they had some wonderful hampers and gifts to be won.

Beneficiaries from this year’s event are: Coolick NS, Gaelscoil Faithleann NS, Knockanes NS, Holy Cross Mercy NS, St Francis Special School, Kerry Stars, Killarney Athletic AFC, and Killarney Cougars Basketball Club.

She thanked everybody for attending and everyone for their help organising the event.

Some, she added, had never been before and said they did not know what exactly the night involved but will definitely be back again next time as it was “so enjoyable”.

“We hope the money raised will help the beneficiaries to proceed with projects,” she said.

“We are delighted for Rotary to be able to help these charities, community groups and schools through our fundraising event.”

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Comedy drama ready for the stage

By Michelle Crean Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage. What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy […]

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By Michelle Crean

Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage.

What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy father and a confused visitor to the dentist, all have in common? You’ll have to come along to the Killarney Avenue Hotel on Monday, December 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 at 8pm to find out.

The popular drama group will present their three new comedies featuring the work of playwrights Brian Bowler, Ger Madden and Mary Quirke.Come along for a night filled with fun and laughter. Just the right beginning to the festive season. Doors open at 7.15pm and tickets are available at the door. All tickets; adults, seniors, students and children are €10. Don’t miss a great night out.

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